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35 treptower park, berlin We bicycled somberly around the great monument, our somberness adjusted to about seventy thousand. The other visitors to the monument that morning were somber to more or less the same degree, which was not coincidental, as all of us had passed before the same bronze plaque at the entrance explaining about the seventy thousand, the bombings, the ratio of soldiers to civilians, Russians to Germans, in a couple of long, complicated paragraphs full of treaties, pacts, provisos, and Roman numerals. It was a lovely day for being somber, for trying somehow to feel the beautiful ghostly weight of seventy thousand, although actually I think it would have felt roughly the same if it were forty thousand, or even ten. In truth, there aren’t that many levels of somberness available. There’s basically just this hushed, solemn way of moving around a monument, staring at the obelisks, the big heroic statues, the alphabetical plaques of names, as we smile at the foreigners who smile right back, everyone a bit anxious, eager to please, like, Hey, no way this could ever happen again. Right? ...


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MARC Record
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