Had I been more conscientious, I would have made sure to go and take a picture of this. Instead, I just hung out with my lovely friend Dechen (who came from Bhutan via Copenhagen) and stumbled upon things by chance.
The last time Dechen and I saw each other was exactly three years ago – in a cold November in Berlin, so this was a huge, and hugely pleasant, reunion. The two of us have a connection with and a soft spot for the city – both independently and because of one another, so it wasn’t entirely accidental that we decided to meet there. Once we did, however, it became clear that we could have been anywhere, and Berlin simply provided a pleasant place in which to roam around.
And that we did. We went out to brunch, stayed in for dinner, looked at Christmas stands and browsed through flea markets, sipped Glühwein and afternoon tea, spoke with accents, ducked in underground bars in the middle of parks, crashed hipster parties and art openings, and strolled around Berlin’s streets aimlessly.
During our walks, in what were surely symptoms of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, I couldn’t stop noticing and compulsively reading the ‘stumbling stones’ that I had initially discovered during my last visit to Berlin at the beginning of the summer and just recently seen in Budapest, which commemorate individual victims of National socialism.
Among all the others, we found an apparently, and unfortunately, rare one, which commemorated a man who was deported to Auschwitz, but instead of the usual ermordet (‘murdered’) at the end, his plaque read überlebt (‘survived’). That was nice.