Travel Back in Time 70 Years to Post WWII Berlin

Two summers ago I was fortunate enough to travel to Berlin, Germany. A former swampland settled by the Brandenburgs in the 13th Century, Berlin became the heart of the Prussian Kingdom, the capital of the Nazi regime and, of course, the unofficial boarder between the East and West during the Cold War.

Visiting Berlin today is an experience I highly recommend to anyone planning a European vacation. The drink and food are plenty. The people are English-friendly. The city is modern and clean and safe.

Spend any time in Berlin and you can't help but see the layers of its fascinating history. Modern 21st Century glass construction gives way to the Communist era Karl Marx Allee and TV Tower. The restored Reishstag and Humbolt University recall two World Wars. And the Brandenburg Gate coupled with an entire island of museums remind us of pre-20th Century Germanic periods. (By the way, if you've ever wanted to see one of the Gates of Babylon, they have that too.)

It's impossible to stand just about anywhere in Berlin, and not be awed by the world events that have happened here, both terrible and wonderful and everything in between. Because 800 or so years of triumph and tragedy are a little hard to process, mentally, we tend to reduce history to Big Grand Events rather than human experiences.

We forget that people just like you and I were here for all of those events. Living. Loving. Surviving.

Friday, May 8, 2015 marks the 70th Anniversary of VE Day. 70 Years Ago, Allied Forces lead by our Parents and Grandparents, put a stop to the fascist Nazis, leaving Hitler's thugs only 988 years short of their thousand year reign goals.

Yet, the end of the War also marked a new beginning for the decimated remains of Germany at its peoples. What follows is a video rendering of color film captured in Berlin, by what appears to be Allied Soldiers, circa July of 1945. More than just rubble and ruin, it's a chance to connect with the faces -- the people -- of that era.

The video, titled Spirit of Berlin, is incredibly humanizing, and definitely worth a watch for history buffs and photography lovers alike. Having stood in many of these locations personally -- the above photo of Humbolt University next to an image from the video of the same building -- it is particularly astonishing to see the absolute devastation juxtaposed by the human beings just starting to rebuild.