The young boy holding on to the concrete steel bars that reinforced The Wall, was nine years old when the Iron Curtain fell in 1989. The lady next to him became one of the innumerable so-called „Mauerspechte“, „wall peckers“, who secured themselves a morsel of the unholy structure to bring home a grisly souvenir. The „antifascist protective wall“, as the German Democratic Republic had chosen to name it, not only separated West from East Berlin and barbariously split the German nation, but symbolised the rift that divided the entire world in two political camps. Erected in August of 1961, The Wall finally came down after decade-long diplomatic efforts and a peaceful revolution during which not a single shot was fired. Hacked apart piece by piece by citizens and visitors flocking in from all over the globe, The Wall ceased to exist and with it the Cold War.
1989: “VoPos” = Volkspolizisten = the People’s Police of the GDR talking to passers-by.
An unthinkable occurrance only a few weeks earlier!
Intact slabs saved and realigned: the Eastside Gallery in Berlin is as much a memorial as it is a work of art displayed in an open-air museum. This is one of the most popular motifs: President Breshniev of Russia and President of the Privy Council of the GDR, Honnecker, locked in yet another juicy kiss. The text says: “My God, please help me to survive this lethal love”.
In 1990, the two Germanies were officially reunited and the 3rd of October declared the new National Day.
In 2015, Germany celebrates the 25th anniversary of its reunion. Together with – hopefully – the rest of the world.
Hans Conrad Schumann was one of the first – and by far the most documented – escapees fleeing the Berlin Wall last-minute. A legendary photo shows him skipping over a roll of barbed wire. An unknown artist painted the scene directly on to a slab of Wall.
In 2015, it was the Federal State of Hessen’s turn to stage the reunification festivities, as its premier Volker Bouffier presently presides over the Federal Council of Germany (a yearly election). The city of Frankfurt was the chosen venue and could not have done a better job!
Images ©H.D. & Christina Feyerke
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