Most days I ride the S-Bahn into the heart of Berlin. Beyond the carriage windows rises Norman Foster’s Reichstag dome. The vast glass parasol above Potsdamer Platz catches the sun. In the high-tech temple of the new Hauptbahnhof, sleek white ICE trains arrive from Frankfurt, Zürich and Paris.
Yet for all the splendour of the present, I can’t stop imagining the burnt-out buildings, the whistle of shells, the Soviet soldiers battling up blackened streets blocked by rubble and bodies. The second world war, which left 90 per cent of the city centre in ruins, feels ever present. The black husk…
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