As you read today’s Shabbat Message, I am on the tail end of my travels. This week was spent travelling down the Autobahn(with no speed limit, other than common sense).Germany (Berlin and Nuremberg) and Italy (Lake Garda, Tuscany, Florence and Venice) are our destinations.
Highlights of the trip will be shared in next week’s email.
Here are some interesting facts about our journey’s locations:
1. Two Million East Germans (1,000 per day) fled to the West between 1949-1961 but then on Aug. 13, 1961 Berliners woke to find a barbed wire fence separating East and West Berlin (later replaced by the wall).
2. The Berlin Wall fell on Nov. 9, 1989 one day earlier than planned due to poor communication only after 100 people died trying to scale the wall to freedom but 5,000 people were successful by going over and under the wall. Pieces of the wall were scattered across the globe with one finding a home in the bathroom of a Las Vegas casino.
3. As in most of Europe’s history, Jews were often persecuted and killed as scapegoats and Nuremberg is no exception. The Jewish pogroms and massacres in Nuremberg started in the late 13th century and continued throughout history. And of course, in 1935, Hitler scribed the famous Nuremberg Lawswhich demonized non-aryans and Jews (or anyone with Jewish Grandparents regardless of their current identity). Most Arab countries used the Nuremberg laws to initiate persecution of their Jewish Residents. After the war, Nuremberg became the Trial Home for Nazi crimes.
New York Time, May 16th, 1948
4. Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy and legend states there have been settlements there dating back to 2000 BCE.
5. Tuscany is considered the birthplace of the artistic and scientific Renaissance.
6. Italy’s youngest Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (age 40) is from Florence.
7. Venice is made up of about 117 small islands connected by canals and bridges, though sadly it is sinking about 1-2 millimeters a year.
“Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.”