After a bunch of long days holed up in a conference room, my colleagues and I found ourselves with an afternoon off. Four of us hopped into an Uber to visit the Berlin wall. I will admit to ignorance. For some reason in my head, it was tall. Like the Great Wall of China. I was sooo wrong.
Obviously I didn’t know much about it. I just knew it was cause for celebration when it came down. When Chris and I started dating, we gathered together for friends at a Super Bowl party in 1990 and watched a concert celebrating the take-down of the all. Fittingly — along to celebrities singing songs from Pink Floyd’s “The Wall.”
One side of the wall had interesting (and some not-interesting) graffiti. The other side was museum-worthy. Various artists displaying their work with different styles represented panel by panel.
My colleagues and I walked up and down each side of the wall in that area, taking turns getting clear views amidst all the tourists also viewing the art. Some of the art was whimsical. Some was poignant. Some was chilling.
You know how a phone will take photos and put squares around them so you can identify images identified as specific people? This image did that, and I swear I heard the ghosts of voices of the past resonating anguish over their life situation:
I will post a gallery of some of the images I took later in this post, but if you want to see more pics from the east side, you can check this compilation from Google Image Search results.
After checking the gallery, we walked across the bridge to the west side.
It’s a very cool bridge until you realize it was there to hold guards who were there ready to shoot people who tried to get to the other side of the river to reunite with loved ones. A story that broke my heart was one I read about on a sign on that side of the river.
Children drowned because people couldn’t go in the water to rescue them since they were scared of being shot:
The four children Çetin Mert, Cengaver Katrancı, Siegfried Kroboth and Giuseppe Savoca, who fell into the Spree at the Gröben riverside between the years 1972 and 1975, could not be rescued even though West Berlin rescue forces arrived quickly on site.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_deaths_at_the_Berlin_Wall
That breaks my heart. I just can’t imagine. And don’t want to imagine. And this wasn’t so far in the past. The year my husband was born, people were “allowed” to cross to see loved ones. During one week of the year.
Yes, I know stuff like this is going on in our world today, and it’s horrible. What I did find hopeful, however, was that things do change. The wall is down. There is new freedom there now. In fact, the next day the city was basically shut down for a Pride parade. Times changed.
That afternoon was perhaps the point of most impact during my Berlin say. It still gives me much to think about. Here are some of the pics I took: