Browsing articles tagged with " The Berlin Wall"

The Berlin Wall is back!

Berlin, February 2015

The Berlin Wall is no longer part of the present of the city since November 9th, 1989, when it collapsed, quinte unexpectedly actually. Only the “East Side Gallery”, its longest section (1.3 km or 0.80 miles), as well as some much smaller ones, remind of the physical partition of Berlin, which lasted over 28 years. Whatever that 155 km-long Wall transmitted is not longer to be perceived… or maybe it is, actually it is.

“Asisi Panorama” is very close to Checkpoint Charlie, one of the hot spots during the Cold War. The spectacular staging shows a view of Berlin as seen from its western part while the Wall stood there. An impressive 60 meter long and 15 m. high image, an elevated platform (4 m.), the proper illumination, … the spectator is granted a unique opportunity to experience an everyday autumn scene of the 80’s – the western neighbourhood of Kreuzberg on one side, the death strip and East Berlin on the other. Graffiti artists, playing children, policemen on the watch towers, … all which could be seen those days from the in the western part of the city existing elevated platforms can also be seen now, 25 years later. The venue also shows a number of photos taken before, during and after the Wall both by Berlin citizens and visitors.

“Asisi Panorama – The Wall” is located on the junction of Friedrichstraße and Zimmerstraße, underground “Kochstraße” (U6). Its creator is the architect and artits Yadegar Asisi, the “father” of other spectacular Panometers in Dresden and Leipzig. In close vicinity stands the Checkpoint Charlie-Museum as well as the so called “Black Box”, an exhibition area devoted to this historical border point.


Asisi Panorama:
Checkpoint Charlie-Museum:
Black Box:

Photos Checkpoint Charlie + Black Box:

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50 years and two months

Berlin, August 8, 2011

The events that took place in Berlin on August 13, 1961 are well known: at night, the government of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) began an operation that would surprise the Berliners from one side and the other, those under East German administration and also the over two million citizens of the Federal Republic (FRG). Overnight, they all crashed with a new reality, the beginning of what later would be known as the Berlin Wall.

Not everybody knows, though, that the eventual building of that future Wall, in the beginning a blockade of metro lines and accesses between East and West Berlin, had been denied by the chairman of the Council of the State of the GDR, Walter Ulbricht, only two months before that date. In a press conference, attended by numerous international correspondents, the West German journalist Annamarie Doherr asked Ulbricht:

Bedeutet die Bildung einer Freien Stadt Ihrer Meinung nach, dass die Staatsgrenze am Brandenburger Tor errichtet wird? Und sind Sie entschlossen, dieser Tatsache mit allen Konsequenzen Rechnung zu tragen?” (in English: “In your opinion, does the ‘edification of a free city’ mean that a border will be constructed at the Brandenburg Gate? Are you determined to carry this out with all the consequences?”).

Ulbricht’s answer was significant, because for the first time he pronounced the word “wall”, despite not having been mentioned until then:

Ich verstehe Ihre Frage so, dass es Menschen in Westdeutschland gibt, die wünschen, dass wir die Bauarbeiter der Hauptstadt der DDR dazu mobilisieren, eine Mauer aufzurichten. Mir ist nicht bekannt, dass eine solche Absicht besteht. Die Bauarbeiter unserer Hauptstadt beschäftigen sich hauptsächlich mit Wohnungsbau, und ihre Arbeitskraft wird dafür voll eingesetzt. Niemand hat die Absicht, eine Mauer zu errichten!” (in English: “I interpret your question so that there are people in West Germany who wish that we mobilize the construction workers of the capital of the GDR to erect a wall. I am not aware of such an intention. The workers of our capital city are mainly concerned with house building, and their manpower is used for this. Nobody intends to build a wall!”).

Happy end of a story of division

If we can say that, somehow, the Berlin Wall started at a press conference, it is not less precise to observe that it was tore down the same way. On that occasion it would not be the leader of the GDR but a high-ranking official of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), Günter Schabowski, on November 9, 1989. The public television of the Federal Republic informed live about those historic events.

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