Fotoeins Fotografie

the visible wor(l)d, between Canada & Germany

Posts tagged ‘German Rail’

Frankfurt am Main Hauptbahnhof, central station, Hauptbahnhof, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, fotoeins.com

$600 savings with the German Rail Pass this fall

Above: 6am at Frankfurt am Main Hauptbahnhof, 20 May 2016 (HL).

I’ve set foot inside Germany at least once each year since 2001. I’m “home” again for the 17th consecutive year with this autumn’s itinerary in the country’s central corridor, including Heidelberg, Konstanz, Ulm, Hannover, Kassel, Berlin, Würzburg, and Frankfurt am Main.

Thanks to their summer 20% promotion, I’ve purchased for €284 a 2nd-class German Rail Pass with ten days of travel inside one month. Compared to the advanced purchase of individual point-to-point tickets, I’m saving at least 50 dollars (Canadian), but with my preference for open-ended travel, my savings will exceed 600 dollars.

Below I describe:

  1. in detail how flexibility with the rail pass provides hundreds of dollars in savings, and
  2. how the rail pass is validated and activated.

( Click here for more )

Regional train heading west from Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Photo by Christian Allinger (CC BY 2.0).

Travel and saving with the German Rail Pass, Feb-Mar 2017

Above: Regional train heading west from Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Christian Allinger).

I’ve set foot inside Germany at least once each year since 2001. I’m back “home” for the 17th consecutive year with the following “mostly Bayerisch” itinerary:

  • München
  • Garmisch-Partenkirchen
  • Mittenwald
  • Reutte in Tirol (Österreich)
  • Oberstdorf
  • Augsburg
  • Heidelberg

Thanks to their springtime 20% promotion, I’ve secured a 2nd-class German Rail Pass for seven days of travel inside one month.

( Click here for more )

Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Berlin central train station, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Track 14B, Berlin Hauptbahnhof

“Mmmmmm, interference fringes …”

Even at 7pm, it’s unusual to see a lack of people in Berlin’s central train station, even at the very northwest corner of the second floor (above ground; 2. OG). The two remaining tracks to the left are 15 and 16, used solely by east-west S-Bahn trains on the city’s “Stadtbahn.”

I made the photo above on 2 May 2015 with the Canon EOS6D, 24-105 L zoom-lens, and the following settings: 1/160s, f/11, ISO500, 24mm focal-length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-8Af.

Deutsche Bahn, IC 2218, Oberes Mittelrheintal, Upper Middle Rhine Valley, Germany, fotoeins.com

The nebulous transition

I’m racing past kilometer 554.

The simple black and white sign on the east flank of the river counts down to the end, to the river’s mouth where the mineral-rich mud and silt enter the North Sea. Another sign tells me what this famous rock-face landmark is.

There’s barely enough time at Loreley to detect the hint of a siren’s call, as the train marches to the next bucolic town. Though small in size, the town and its buildings seem to stand fast in a “group hug” of the river bank in a futile attempt to hold back the rush of the Rhine.

This feels like routine, a journey in western Germany which I’ve repeated many times over the last 15 years. With heavy heart, I’ve departed my adopted hometown of Heidelberg for the umpteenth time. I’m traveling north to meet with friends I haven’t seen in a couple of years.

( Click here for more )

Berlin Grunewald: no train will ever leave track 17

Present in the vicinity of a train station are very distinct and familiar sounds: the racket of heavy locomotives chugging down the rail and the screech of high-friction braking. A breeze sweeps through two columns of trees, creating a low keening sound which escapes into the open space beyond. To stop and listen, the sounds could easily be human: faint shouts and cries. Are they tricks of the mind, or are the dead speaking? The spectre of cruelty, despair, and suffering clings to the abandoned track; seven decades in the past don’t seem very far.

On a cool grey late-autumn afternoon, I’m on an S-Bahn train heading towards Potsdam. Beyond the limits of the “Stadtbahn” and one stop beyond the “Ring” at Westkreuz, the train pulls into the former goods and freight station at Grunewald. Dropping into the underground passage, signage points to the memorial at track 17. I leave the station by the southeast exit, and turn left to ascend the ramp along the side street.

In the Berlin borough of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Grunewald station lies on the S7 S-Bahn line serving central Berlin city, the city of Potsdam to the southwest, and Ahrensfelde to the northeast in the Berlin borough of Marzahn-Hellersdorf. Grunewald station began operation in 1879 under its original name Hundekehle named after a nature reserve nearby. The station changed its name to “Grunewald” in 1884 when the old Grunewald station began its new life as “Halensee” station. Grunewald station and its tracks were incorporated into Berlin’s S-Bahn train network in 1928.

Many companies including the Deutsche Reichsbahn (German Imperial Rail) were actively complicit in the machinery of mass murder during Nazi rule. After reunification of East and West Germany in 1990, the two separate railways also merged to form Deutsche Bahn in 1994, and calls arose for the new company to acknowledge its dark past. To mark the Reichbahn’s collaboration in deporting people to camps and their deaths, present-day Deutsche Bahn AG established a memorial at track 17. Inaugurated in 1998 the memorial was designed and built by architects Hirsch, Lorch, and Wandel who were very mindful of the 1991 Karol Broniatowski memorial near the station’s entrance.

Along track 17, metal plates have been inserted, one for every transport train which took Berlin’s Jews to their deaths. Each plate includes the transport date, the number of people deported, and the transport’s destination. The first train of record departed Grunewald on 1941 October 18 when 1251 Jews were deported to Łódź. Another plate marks the last train of record (so far) leaving Grunewald on 1945 March 27 when 18 Jews were deported to Theresienstadt; blank plates leave room for additional commemorations with new uncovered information. More than 50-thousand Jews from Berlin were deported from this station alone. The first set of trains went to concentration-camps in eastern Europe, but by the end of 1942, trains were directed to Auschwitz and Theriesenstadt.

The vegetation that’s been left to grow around the track over the years is a visible symbol and an unspoken promise to all: that no train will leave track 17 ever again.


Mahnmal Gleis 17, Berlin Grunewald, Gueterbahnhof Grunewald, Bahnhof Grunewald, Memorial at track 17, Grunewald station, Grunewald, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

Grunewald station, underground passage to track 17

Mahnmal Gleis 17, Berlin Grunewald, Gueterbahnhof Grunewald, Bahnhof Grunewald, Memorial at track 17, Grunewald station, Grunewald, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

Track 17: in commemoration to people who were deported to death camps on Deutsche Reichsbahn trains, 1941-1945. Erected by Deutsche Bahn AG.

Mahnmal Gleis 17, Berlin Grunewald, Gueterbahnhof Grunewald, Bahnhof Grunewald, Memorial at track 17, Grunewald station, Grunewald, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

Southeast entrance with signage to the memorial. At top, the weather-vane is in the shape of a locomotive.

Mahnmal Gleis 17, Berlin Grunewald, Gueterbahnhof Grunewald, Bahnhof Grunewald, Memorial at track 17, Grunewald station, Grunewald, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

Zum Gedenken an die mehr als 50.000 Juden Berlins, die zwischen Oktober 1941 und Februar 1945 vorwiegend vom Güterbahnhof Grunewald aus durch den nationalsozialistischen Staat in seine Vernichtungslager deportiert und ermordet wurden. Zur Mahnung an uns, jeder Missachtung des Lebens und der Würde des Menschen mutig und ohne Zögern entgegenzutreten. In memory of the more than 50-thousand Berlin Jews deported between October 1941 and February 1945, most of whom were sent from the Grunewald station by the Nazis to extermination camps and murdered. This is our warning: to maintain basic human dignity, to oppose all blatant disregard for life with courage and without hesitation. (by Karol Broniatowski, 1991)

Mahnmal Gleis 17, Berlin Grunewald, Gueterbahnhof Grunewald, Bahnhof Grunewald, Memorial at track 17, Grunewald station, Grunewald, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

Memorial by Karol Broniatowski, 18 October 1991: bronze plaque (above) and concrete wall with hollowed out imprints of human bodies

Mahnmal Gleis 17, Berlin Grunewald, Gueterbahnhof Grunewald, Bahnhof Grunewald, Memorial at track 17, Grunewald station, Grunewald, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

A little further …

Mahnmal Gleis 17, Berlin Grunewald, Gueterbahnhof Grunewald, Bahnhof Grunewald, Memorial at track 17, Grunewald station, Grunewald, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

First sight of track 17

Mahnmal Gleis 17, Berlin Grunewald, Gueterbahnhof Grunewald, Bahnhof Grunewald, Memorial at track 17, Grunewald station, Grunewald, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

Metal slabs surround both sides of track 17

Mahnmal Gleis 17, Berlin Grunewald, Gueterbahnhof Grunewald, Bahnhof Grunewald, Memorial at track 17, Grunewald station, Grunewald, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

1st metal plate: 1st recorded train on 1941 October 18: 1251 Jews deported from Berlin to Łódź

Mahnmal Gleis 17, Berlin Grunewald, Gueterbahnhof Grunewald, Bahnhof Grunewald, Memorial at track 17, Grunewald station, Grunewald, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

“Last” metal plate: train on record leaving 1945 March 27: 18 Jews deported from Berlin to Theresienstadt

Mahnmal Gleis 17, Berlin Grunewald, Gueterbahnhof Grunewald, Bahnhof Grunewald, Memorial at track 17, Grunewald station, Grunewald, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

Unused buildings

Mahnmal Gleis 17, Berlin Grunewald, Gueterbahnhof Grunewald, Bahnhof Grunewald, Memorial at track 17, Grunewald station, Grunewald, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

Far end of the memorial

Mahnmal Gleis 17, Berlin Grunewald, Gueterbahnhof Grunewald, Bahnhof Grunewald, Memorial at track 17, Grunewald station, Grunewald, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

Germany and Israel. Near the former signal building, this bronze plaque in both Hebrew and German was unveiled on 3 April 1987.

Mahnmal Gleis 17, Berlin Grunewald, Gueterbahnhof Grunewald, Bahnhof Grunewald, Memorial at track 17, Grunewald station, Grunewald, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

Hebrew inscription: memorial to the victims of extermination. German inscription: In memory of the tens of thousands of Jewish citizens of Berlin, who were deported by the Nazis between October 1941 and February 1945 from here to death camps and murdered. (“Zum Gedenken an zehntausende jüdische Bürger Berlins, die ab Oktober 1941 bis Februar 1945 von hier aus durch die Nazi-Henker in die Todeslager deportiert und ermordet wurden.”)

Mahnmal Gleis 17, Berlin Grunewald, Gueterbahnhof Grunewald, Bahnhof Grunewald, Memorial at track 17, Grunewald station, Grunewald, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

 

Mahnmal Gleis 17, Berlin Grunewald, Gueterbahnhof Grunewald, Bahnhof Grunewald, Memorial at track 17, Grunewald station, Grunewald, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

 

Mahnmal Gleis 17, Berlin Grunewald, Gueterbahnhof Grunewald, Bahnhof Grunewald, Memorial at track 17, Grunewald station, Grunewald, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

The track to nowhere

Mahnmal Gleis 17, Berlin Grunewald, Gueterbahnhof Grunewald, Bahnhof Grunewald, Memorial at track 17, Grunewald station, Grunewald, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

End of the line

Mahnmal Gleis 17, Berlin Grunewald, Gueterbahnhof Grunewald, Bahnhof Grunewald, Memorial at track 17, Grunewald station, Grunewald, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

 

Mahnmal Gleis 17, Berlin Grunewald, Gueterbahnhof Grunewald, Bahnhof Grunewald, Memorial at platform 17, Grunewald station, Grunewald, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

No train will leave this track ever again


More:

•   Deutsche Bahn, track 17 memorial: in English | auf Deutsch
•   Memorial Museums, in English
•   “In the field of stelae” (Holocaust memorial in central Berlin), in English
•   Memorial to Sinti and Roma Murdered by Nazis, in English
•   Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf borough, city-state of Berlin, in German
•   Berlin city portal, in German


S-Bahn station Grunewald is about 20 minutes from Berlin central station with the S-Bahn S7 train, direction (Richtung) Potsdam. Open to the elements and free of charge, the memorial is accessed either from the underground passage inside the station or from the street ramp outside; follow the signs for “Mahnmal Gleis 17” (Memorial at track 17).

I made the photos above on 7 December 2015. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-7vx.

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