Berlin and its Wall back in the days
The more time I am spending in Berlin, the more I seem to get intrigued by the Berlin wall and its history.
I have to honestly admit that my knowledge of what actually went down in Berlin is not very up to speed.
So I did some digging here in the area about the wall, and where better to do this than in Berlin itself. There are traces of the wall here everywhere!
First I went to the Bernauer Strasse earlier in the week. Here is official MauerMuseum (Wallmuseum) and also an original piece of wall. But as said it also has a museum and there you can find these crazy situations in history. The picture here above I took in this museum is from a church that is on the Bernauer Strasse. It stood there for a long time in between the fences until it was decided to take down for 'safety'reasons. Looks crazy right?
In this museum they also have a viewing point where you can look on a piece of reconstructed wall. Here you can see clearly that is was not always just one wall. There was a whole piece in between where also guards were walking and with watchtowers. And of course the Fernsehenturn in the back as a distinct icon of Berlin (yeah it was not there back in the days I know, haha)
Next to this reconstructed piece is also still an original piece of wall. Where the walking paths for the guards were back then is now park. Also memorials are here for the fallen who tried to escape over the walls. In the museum itself are some heroic escape attempt stories, you can really see how desparate people were back then to get to the west.
Okay, this is the part were I was also triggered to do some more backgroundresearch. Because why was this wall even build and by who? Therefore Wikipedia will be our friend and I will try to explain a bit
After World War 2 Germany was divided into 4 pieces by the allies who liberated Germany. But Berlin as a capital was strategicly important but not so coveniently located. Also in this same time the Cold War began between the West and Russia. Because of its position Berlin was important for the informationsources.
Because of this Cold war in 1947 there were barricades set up in the middle of Berlin so the East would not intervene with the West and the other way arround. Initially these were just roadblocks. But so many people from East Berlin were fleeing to the West as a jumpstart to reach further to the West for 'freedom.' At this moment the East was Democratische Republic Deutschland (DDR) and was actually socialistic. Most people who were trying to flee were higher educated young people. The DDR realised this would turn out into its own demise this way, so they prevented people from fleeing by building a wall around West Berlin.
The wall was put up in the middle of the city and this was of course dramatic for years. People not being able to see their loved ones all of a sudden because of a wall standing in the middle.
The red dots are places where West Berlin could be entered. The most famous one is Checkpoint Charlie, maybe you have heard of it. (PS dont visit this. Overrated and in a super busy shopping street. I didnt even take pictures that much it sucked)
Everything was devided in two. From telephone lines into sewers but also the subwaylines. All of a sudden some of these trainstations that were on the line of the wall turned useless and were empty for years. One of those subwaysstations is Nordbahnhof, the closest by museum to the Bernauer Strasse museum. Inside this subwaystation is currently an exposition about these ghoststations.
I also went to the Stasi museum to see if I could get a bit more info on the wall and the secret service (Stasi means Staats Sicherheid = Secret Service) that were very influential in those years.
In those times a lot of people were spied on in the East to see if they had any information about West Berlin or about people who were tryng to get there. Many of these spying equipments are exposed now in this Stasi museum.
Looks like a normal waterer right?? Chech again underneith the handle, see that small hole? That was perfect for a spying camera.
A button on a zipper?? Think again! Camera!
A German family found 17 years after the dropping of the wall this recording equipment in their door in the living room. Very weird!
You can imagine this was not a way of living for a lot of people. Resistance was growing and after an astonishing 30 years or Wall it fell in 1989. But this was naturally after a lot of protests, and did not happen overnight!
Just look at how many people are at this demonstration on Alexanderplatz. Recognize the WeltzeitUhr from my other post?? ;)
Well, luckily this is all in the past here in Berlin and the city is one again. Literally one. Berlin is such a nice place to visit. When you have a chance, please do so!