Crossing Over: Fetting, Hirschfeld, Mormons

At the Judisches Museum the second time, I came across an address: Fontanepromenade 15. It was the Central Office where Jews had to register for forced labour during the Nazi years. I am staying on the same street at number 17. I was taking a picture of the building when a man, dressed in an orange vest and camouflage approached us and asked if we wanted to see inside. It is a church now. Go figure. I declined. ‘I’ll come back another time.’ The man said it’s going to close in five minutes. Oh, well, that wouldn’t be enough time to take it in. I declined again. I had to pee! and was tired. He gently insisted and my smart friend, Beatrice, said, let’s go in. So we did. Turns out, he is the pastor of the church (and the historian, etc.). But, the congregation has shrunk to the point where they cannot sustain the building. It is being sold. Their last time in the building was this five minutes.

Beatrice and I were so honoured that this gentleman and his wife wanted us to come in and witness what had been so important to them. And, that was now over. Somehow, these endings and transitions and gateways are a deep part of what is emerging here for me. That crossing over to the new. B asked him how they were going to practice their faith. He said that he didn’t know. But that they would. They would have a meeting and decide. The faith that takes.

Here are photos from number 15, some art exhibits (OMG, Rainer Fetting!), WB’s residences, Magnus Hirschfeld (the sex study pioneer whose Institute the Nazis burned in one of Goebbel’s early book-burnings) and other odds and ends. Great, great graffiti here (photos for educational purposes only). See if you can spot the tin can lid camp prisoners poked holes into to scrape bark off of trees to eat.

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A whole slew of Benjamin’s residences, great theatre and art—Berlin is so provocative. I’ve learned so much. Today, going to the massive Checkpoint Charlie Wall museum, C.O. photography exhibit and have the privilege of having a coffee with the Artistic Director of English Theatre Berlin in an hour.

~ by Thom on May 17, 2011.

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