„…jene, die nicht hinübergehen können, die sich dieser Grenze am Ende der Straße nähern, Felswand, die plötzlich eines Nachts in ihrer Straße emporgewachsen ist, jene, die seit Jahren ihren Augen nicht trauen, nun langsamer gehen und stehenbleiben;…“ // „…those, who can not cross, who approach the border at the end of the street, rock wall, that suddenly appeared one night at the end of their street, who can not believe their eyes for years now, slow down and stop;…“ Michel Butor (Die ganze Stadt Berlin, 1964)
Yesterday, Germany celebrated 25 years after the fall of the Berlin wall. I am born in eastern Berlin and was 7 years old when my little brother and me were allowed to stay awake longer this November evening 1989. When my father came home from work, my mother greeted him with the words: „The wall has fallen.“ He thought that she confused something, didn’t believe her, went to bed and realized the truth only the next morning at the bus station when everyone arround him was talking about it. I was raised in a united Germany with all possibilities to travel, to study and to do the things I like to do. Since I am 19 years old I live in the western part of Germany and can not imagine a life where I wouldn’t be allowed to be here. Hence, I am incredibly grateful to live today, in a time without walls around me.
A few weeks ago, I accidentally found the book Die ganze Stadt Berlin, published in 1964. It is filled with political photos by Bernard Larsson and an introduction by French writer Michel Butor. It shows the situation in a freshly divided Berlin (the wall was closed in 1961) on both sides – east and west. It’s an emotional shock to see this city I know so well with soldiers, a wall and barbwire. But it reminds me also of some of my very first memories – the proud of my father when I became a „Jungpionier„, the smell of the supermarkets („Konsum„) and the festivities on May 1st. 1964 Berlin looked completely different to nowadays. Because, luckily, today Berlin is a complete city again.
I wish you a wonderful start into a new week without any limits!
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