• Upcoming trips

    Feb 3 - Feb 13 Caribbean cruise May 1 to May 14 London vacation. (Hotels and details later). Hope to see you all then.
  • theatre and Concerrts

    December 7. Went to the Met to see the abridged version of “The Magic Flute”. We have seen this production before and still the charm of the great puppet characters keeps the children in awe and their parents happy with their parenting. An amusing interlude.

    December 9. Saw the Manhattan School of Music’s production of “Cendrillon” by Nicolo Isouard at the Florence Gould Hall. The MSM is having both its concert halls renovated and is using outside premises like the Alliance Francaise’s hall. The School and its talented young students put everything they have into this production; Scenery, lighting, costumes and acting was superb. As was the directing and conducting. Refreshing also, was that the cast was of the age to be convincing in their parts.

    December 10. The first of the “Peoples Symphony Concerts” this season (Their 118th year!). “The Variation String Trio” did the honours accompanied by guest pianist: Orion Weiss. Their programme included a new work by Nina Young (b.1984) Very interesting, but not, I think, a world-beater.

    December 31 Went to the Kaye theatre at Hunter College  to see the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players’ production of “H.M.S. Pinafore”. Cast and orchestra captured the high spirits of the musical romp and the sets were surprisingly professional. Reminded me of the old Sadlers’ Wells days,

    January 2, 2018. Saw the Met’s “The Merry Widow”. During the first act, the acoustics left a lot to be desired and words were difficult to hear, even in English. But all went well in the second and third acts; the Russian style dancing was rousing and the sets were spectacular. There are usually only six ‘Grisettes’ (Can-can girls) on a regular stage, but the Met’s vast space seemed to be full of them; three, even, descending from the top of the proscenium arch! All with their frilly knickers a-shaking

     

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Allegro on the River Elbe – 2. Potsdam

From East Berlin we coached to Potsdam, a ride of about 1 1/2 hours and spent the rest of the morning visiting the Cecilienhof Palace.

It is unlikely that many  of us will remember the name of this place, or, indeed, have ever heard of it, but it was the scene of the most momentous event of the twentieth century; one which directed and accelerated the course of the change from nations to regional alliances and now, to globalization of  the human population.

As I looked at the collection of photographs and other artifacts on display, memories of the event came flooding back to me. I recalled, for example, the interminable arguments which went on concerning the seemingly trivial question of what shape of table was to be used! My recollections were, of course, secondhand since I was still on my way back from the war at the time.  But the world’s newspapers were reporting nothing else.

Click on the pictures for detail

Entrance to the Palace

Entrance to the Palace

 

Layout of the rooms

Layout of the rooms

 

Historical note

Historical note

 

Tudor-like construction

Tudor-like construction

 

Inner Courtyard

Inner Courtyard

 

Magnificent staircase

Magnificent staircase

 

Old Pals. Now safely in the ground.

Old Pals. Now safely in the ground.

 

The entrance  by which Stalin chose to enter the  Conference Room I have no idea of the significance of the steamer in the foreground.

The entrance by which Stalin chose to enter the Conference Room–I have no idea of the significance of the steamer in the foreground.

 

Diplomacy demands odd bedfellows

Diplomacy demands odd bedfellows

 

Desk used by Truman

Desk used by Truman

 

Who are the two men besides Roosevelt and Churchill?

Who are the two men besides Roosevelt and Churchill?

 

Sammy James, junior sitting on the back of the Jeep with (possibly) a young Dean Martin?

Sammy Davis, junior sitting on the back of the Jeep with (possibly) a young Dean Martin?

 

The paparazzi were at it even in those days!

The paparazzi were at it even in those days!

 

Monty and war-time ally

Monty and war-time ally

 

The famous ROUND table

The famous ROUND table

 

This image has special significance--It shows Harry Truman who had just succeeded President Roosevelt after his death and, in (the background) Clement Attlee who had just defeated Winston Churchill at the polls

This image has special significance–It shows Harry Truman who had just succeeded President Roosevelt after his death and, in (the background) Clement Attlee who had just defeated Winston Churchill at the polls!

 

The end result of all the high-powered haggling; a piece of paper which determined our history and made some kind of order out of the chaos of WWII

The end result of all the high-powered haggling; a piece of paper which determined our history and made some kind of order out of the chaos of WWII

Clement Attlee with King George VI

Clement Attlee with King George VI

Although the following images have no immediate connection with the  Potsdam Agreement, the events recorded in them did facilitate it, and, on a personal note, I would not be here to write this blog if it had not been for them:

The bombs and their effect> . . . . .

The bombs and their effect> . . . . .

 . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . .

To be continued

 

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2 Responses

  1. What a remarkable trip, Ben. Thanks for sharing your memories and this slice of history. It sounds like a perfect trip to share with Kim. I thought of my own father while reading this, imagining the tour he would have been able to give us had we visited his memory places of WWII. It’s a wonderful gift to have given your daughter and, of course, all of us who read here! You have a talent for bringing a place and a time to life.

    Love,
    Nancy

    • Thank you, Nancy. I really did enjoy revisiting the memories of my younger days. I can hardly believe that those times are now consigned to marginal notes in the history books! I am sure your father would have enjoyed the experience just as much.
      Kim and I felt that we were sharing an earlier, and happier, phase in our lives, too. Love, Ben.

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