LCM sent a group to Germany for spring break! The following are reflections on the trip.
In March a group of LCM students had the opportunity to spend their spring break in Germany touring locations important to the life of Martin Luther as well as to European history. Our itinerary included many destinations: Wittenberg, where Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses; Erfurt, where Luther was a monk; Eisenach, where Luther was hidden following his excommunication; Eisleben, Luther’s birthplace and deathplace; Mansfeld, Luther’s childhood town; and Leipzig, a population center in the eastern region of Germany. We spent at most two nights in any location, meaning we were constantly moving to see new sights and interact with unique historical landmarks. The entire 34-person group was experienced in travel by train at the end of the trip. I enjoyed being able to see a cross-section of the Thuringia region’s culture and history over the week, and would love to return one day. The multitude of churches and museums we toured in Germany have given me a better perspective on the role of the Reformation in both German and global history, and the time spent with new and old friends has given me a better perspective on how we continue to improve and carry forward the church in our lives today.
We spent our first few days in Germany in Wittenberg, perhaps the town most associated with Martin Luther. The Luther house museum had lots of models and artifacts related to Luther’s lifestyle in the 16th century. We took a tour of the town and saw the Castle Church where Luther nailed the 95 theses - it was so cold out I had to wear my scarf wrapped all around my head. Sunday morning, we attended a German-language worship service in the Town Church before we headed off to Erfurt.
For Spring Break I went with the LCM group to Germany for a Martin Luther tour. The whole trip was fun, even if it was a little cold and windy. I had several favorite parts to the trip, including all of the museums and tours around the towns. I think that my overall favorite part of the trip was the tour of the Wartburg Castle. We were able to go inside, and see the room where Martin Luther translated the Bible into German, which helped create the modern German language. Not only was this a historical Luther site, but it also had lots of other history as well. Another experience that stuck with me was attending the church on Sunday for a service in German where Luther preached while in Wittenberg.
On Wednesday, we made it to Weimar, touted as a “cultural capital” of Germany of sorts. We spent the afternoon at the nearby Buchenwald concentration camp, where more than 50,000 political prisoners, Jews, and others died leading up to and during World War II. Visiting was an emotional experience. It was astounding that such a pretty, historical, and cultural city could be so close to such a deadly place. Likewise, it was unsettling that Martin Luther’s teachings could be used to justify crimes against dissidents and Jews. After a time of reflection and decompression that evening, some of us made it into the city, saw the statue of Weimar resident poets Goethe and Schiller in the square, and met some friendly young expats who showed us around.