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  • Writer's pictureGregory T. Wilkins

Munich, Germany (2018)

March 8, 2018 - Munich, Germany ....countdown This time next month I will be in Munich. This will be my first time there, and I am very excited. I will be attending Various Voices, a choral event with approximately 3,000 LGBT attendees from around world. This event is held every four years and is hosted by different cities in Europe. Like GALA (Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses in the Americas), they focus on bringing communities together through song. MSP to ORD; ORD to PHL, PHL to MUC 9:25 a.m. departure on May 3; AV to MUC on May 4 at 6:45 a.m. I will have the first few days to myself to explore the city. I am defintiely going to see the churches and cathedrals as well as the museums and palace. There is a lot to do in a very short period of time, but I know I can do it. I also discovered that many museums on Sunday are one Euro. If this the case, I plan to see Alte Pinakothek, Pinakothek der Moderne, Neue Pinakothek, and Museum Brandhoust. It will be a whirlwind for sure. If they open at 10 a.m.and close at 6 p.m. that makes 2 hours/museum. I am up for the challenge. Worse comes to worse, I will return and pay full fare.

May 6, 2018

Germany shit on Europe in World War II, 1933 to 1945. It is modern history though the average Millenial will think otherwise. It was a traumatic time for the globe, and one we should not forget. Hitler and the Nazi party transformed Germany into a totalitarian state, and the Third Reich reigned supreme. Thankfully, the Allied Powers (U.S. Soviet Union, China, and U.K.--aka as the Big Four) ended World War II in May 1945.

What I forgot about is the vast destruction of countries during the war. I remember school lessons about the Jewish population with most of the information forgotten or not taught. 

It was money and power that set the Western World into a downward spiral. Germany had defaulted on their reparations payment from the 1919 Treaty of Versailles (which Hitler blamed Jews) and the fall of the U.S. Stock Market in 1929 did not help matters. German leadership took advantage of the unrest by creating a political party that preached stabilization of the unrest. The rest is history.

There is no clear amount of human casualties in WWII. It ranged from 50 to 80 million. This is astonishing because it represented 3% of Earth's population at the time. 3%! Civilians killed totaled 50 to 55 million, including 19 to 28 million from war-related disease and famine. Military deaths from all causes totaled 21 to 25 million, including deaths in captivity of about 5 million prisoners of war. Statistics on the number of military wounded are unknown.

What should definitely not be forgotten is Hitler's attempt to exterminate the Jewish population. Between 5 to 6 million Jews were slaughtered. This is astonishing when you look at the number of total Jews from Germany occupied countries. It is estimated that 5.7 million of the 7.3 million Jews --78% of the population-- were victims of the Holocaust. 78%! This does not take into account the long list of others that Germany thought were less than perfect-- people with disabilities, Roma, Slavs, Queers, prisoners of war, Pols, and Serbs. 

I think many Americans think Europe is filled with cities with glorious architecture, castles, magnificent museums, and gardens that delight the senses. I too fall prey to this romanticism. Walking the streets of Munich, I have to remember that the majority of the city was bombed to oblivion, even if it occurred at the latter part of the war. 74 air raids fell upon the city. 90% of the altstadt was destroyed via carpet bombing--over 450 large bombs. At the time of the war it was the 4th largest city in Germany with a population of approximately 830,000. 

With destruction there is creation. A city must be rebuilt to restore order and to create an infrastructure for business, families, etc. I am reminded through architecture how much was taken through the war. While the city has been rebuilt, the wow-factor of what was will never be replaced. What is remaining is a testament that we must not forget that money, power, and greed have not served us well. Money, power, and greed are not going away. We have been warned. Will we remember our recent past?

1.20 Euro to USD

11.60 - Metro from airport to Hauptbanhof

18.60 - Metro pass for 7 days

2.00 - cheese and tomato sandwich with large roll of cookies

11.80 - 3 croissants, package of blueberries, box of pralines, salami

4.00 - Sunday Euro day at 4 museums..Neu Pinakothek, Museum Brandhorst, Alte Pinakothek, Pinakothek Der Moderne

.70 - cloak room at museum (Reminder: I used lockers at the others and got my Euro back) 

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