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Students Activities


Students Activities



3.-5. December 2010 - Trip to Eastern Germany


"A winter's fairytale in Eastern Germany"
by Jonathan Focke

In December the group of Iraqi students left Dortmund heading off towards a three-day excursion to Eastern Germany. Visiting cities
like Weimar, Eisenach and Leipzig the students had an interesting trip into German history and culture looking at successful revitalization of historic sites - and they got in contact with something you will hardly find in Iraq: heaps
of snow. "Our trip to Eastern Germany has
been a real winter's fairytale", Katrin Baeumer, member of the ISPC-programme at TU Dortmund, remembers. At the beginning of December the eleven pliq students travelled
to Eastern Germany to learn more about the history and culture of the country where they study and to see how old cities have been revitalized after the destruction of war.

The trip to the German states of Thuringia and Saxony turned out to be a journey into a winter's
paradise: lovely old cities and historic castles covered with up to one foot of new white snow
created a real fairytale landscape. "The students where absolutely delighted by all that snow",
Katrin Baeumer says. "Most of the students have not experienced snow before."

picture by Manuela-Kuehnert_pixelio.de

In Eisenach the group visited the house of the 18th century baroque-composer Johann Sebastian Bach who is one of the best known and most famous German composers. The students really enjoyed a small live concert of classical Bach-music given at the Bach-house - music which is well known to German but not to Iraqi people.
Another important figure of German history was visited right afterwards: At the Wartburg in Eisenach the German theologian and reformer Martin Luther translated the New Testament of the Bible in 1521 for the first time into German language.

In Leipzig the Iraqi students met Pastor Christian Fuehrer at the Nikolaichurch. He was one of the
initiators of the Monday's demonstrations that contributed to the peaceful revolution in Eastern
Germany in 1989/1990 and finally to the end of the German Democratic Republic and the German
division. "It was interesting for the students to see how peaceful political movements can lead to
radical political changes in a country", Katrin Baeumer says. To see what happens when a
totalitarian regime gets out of control the group visited the concentration camp of Nordhausen
where over 20,000 prisoners died in 1944 and 1945 because of the terrible living and working

But the excursion did not only take the students to German history. "Leipzig is a very interesting town for spatial planners", Katrin Baeumer explains. "After World war II during the time of the German Democratic Republic the destroyed cities were not fully rebuild or modernized."
Whereas most of the destroyed histroric buildings in Western Germany had been torn down and replaced by contemporary architecture after World War II destroyed cities in Eastern Germany kept mostly untouched. After the collapse of the GDR these historical cities were restored.







picture by Dieter-Haugk _pixelio.de

"The students were able to see how old buildings, city centres and structures can be revitalized and used in an appropriate way instead of being torn down. This is something which will be important for their future work in Iraq."
After three days in Eastern Germany an interesting trip ended for the eleven pliq-students. The
excursion has shown similarities between Iraqi and German history and planning challenges
regarding the political consequences of a totalitarian regime one the one hand and the
reconstruction of a country after a destructing war on the other hand.




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