Experiencing Berlin on the traces of my visitors’ family history is so enriching and touching for me. For eight days, we had a city tour with family Goodridge through Berlin. Helene was born here 82 years ago, she met this handsome American soldier named George, they moved to the States… Now they returned for a visit with their three adult kids and in-laws.
Allied history meets personal history
We started in Grunewald Villa Colony, where Helene lived through the war until 1945. She moved to Wilmersdorf, we could actually step inside the house on Hildegardstrasse. Nearby is Helene’s Elementary School, and later, her work place was at Schlossstrasse in Steglitz. We had a break in the lake shore café of Schlachtensee Lake, the place of their first meeting: this was where George first spoke to Helene…
George was stationed in McNair Barracks
in Zehlendorf, today a residential area. He stood guard on Albert Speer and other national socialist war criminals in Spandau Military Prison, of which only traces remain today. Just as back in 1959, Helene and George stepped into the American Chapel on Heerstrasse – they reenacted the wedding now, in 2018! By chance the current music director was there, and she sang “Amazing Grace” for them… We delved into cakes and tarts at Wiener Kaffeehaus on Roseneck. A visit to Helene’s mother’s grave on Wilmersdorf Cemetery was also part of the program.
Helene and George left Germany
flying out of Tempelhof Airport to the USA. And apart from all those family sites, we saw so many Berlin highlights! Our glorious final was the Family- Photo-Shooting with Karsten Thielker at the walk through Brandenburg Gate and on top of the Reichstag parliament, with lunch right there at the rooftop restaurant. Such a city tour with a family is real fun!
You have a place in my heart, dear Goodridge family!
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