bombing during the war, is the new commercial
heart of Berlin, and with its modern cinemas
and theatre complexes, expensive and elegant
restaurants, is reminiscent of New York. This
square bears the labels of global giants like
Mercedes and Sony. It has always been Berlin's
fate to be destroyed and rebuilt. When Brecht
returned to the city in 1948 after its liberation
from the Nazis by the tragic means of Allied
bombing, he described it as 'a heap of rubble'.
The city's human losses during the war were
appalling. Apart from the thousands of Jews
who never returned from Hitler's concentration
camps, 80,000 Berliners lost their lives. Today
Berlin is striving to be worthy of its status
as the capital of reunited Germany. With East
and West joined, its centre of gravity is shifting
eastwards. Once outlying neighbourhoods like
Kreuzberg, where there is a majority of Turkish
inhabitants, have now become central areas.
One of the most significant indicators of the
way the centre of the city has shifted to the
east is the fact that parliament, which has
moved here from Bonn, is housed in the Reichstag.