It was a fittingly rainy day to visit the Wannsee House and Potsdam. The Wannsee House is where the Nazi’s planned the final solution. It is now a museum and educational site. What struck me the most was the beautiful setting of the house; a country retreat overlooking a beautiful lake. The juxtaposition of the setting and what occurred inside the house is, well, bizarre. It was also very unsettling to see photos of Hitler in Germany. I had several ‘shaken to the core’ moments, very similar to seeing the Vietnam memorial for the first time, or seeing the planes slam into the twin towers; a very visceral recognition, understanding, and acceptance that this was real, it actually happened.
It was apropos for us to visit the location of the Potsdam Conference after the Wannsee House. The place in Potsdam where the conference was held was at least equal to the beauty of the Wannsee House. I spent my limited time wandering the grounds rather than taking the tour of the building inside. It was moving to stand on the same patio where Churchill, Wilson, and Stalin sat following the war.