Potsdam and the Wannsee...Charlevoix near Berlin

Trip Start Sep 15, 2005
Trip End Mar 05, 2014

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A short distance from Berlin is the resort town of Potsdam. It's shopping area is dominated by Dutch buildings, reflective of the facades on Amsterdam's canals. The antique shops, high-end design stores, clothing and gift shops aren't much different than what one finds in Charlevoix or Harbor Springs or other high-end resort towns. The surrounding villas that line the Wannsee aren't much different than those that line resorts worldwide, other than their regional architectural styles, and their place in history.

Just outside of Potsdam (then the Alsen Colony) is where the German Impressionist Max Lieberman built his summer home. The house and garden, which Lieberman carefully collaborated on with his architect (the same architect Baumgarten who built the villa where the great Wannsee Conference took place), became the inspiration for most of the paintings towards the end of his life.

After a succession of property owners, beginning with a member of the Reich who bought it at a depressed price when Lieberman's wife was forced to sell it under the Nazis, the house has been used as a hospital and a private club over the years. It wasn't until 2006 that the house and gardens were restored and turned into a museum, borrowing works from local museums to portray a sampling of the impressionist paintings Lieberman did while living there. It's a pleasant respite, albeit the bittersweet feeling one gets visiting his home, dining al fresco on his patio, overlooking his gardens and taking in a lovely view of the Wannsee. Like much in Berlin, one can never escape the constant reminders of the extraordinary pain and tremendous loss of human talent during the Nazi era.

For more info: http://www.max-liebermann.de/en/(S(1zf5nzyzsytx4bn30spmdu55) )/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=1
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