Hope Found When The Berlin Wall Came Down

Last week marked the 50th anniversary of the building of the infamous Berlin Wall. A series of events marking this not so auspicious day was (and is) found throughout Berlin and the rest of Germany.

It was on August 12th, 1961 that East Germany leader, Walter Ulbricht, gave the order to build a separation wall between them and the West Germans, which had started the day after. Hmm, interesting since only two months beforehand he said that “no one wants to build a wall.”

But, he did build a wall. A 160km concrete barrier around Berlin, to be exact.

As if the wall wasn’t insulting enough, watchtowers (which is believed that no two were alike) were added along the wall’s perimeter with soldiers ordered to shoot anyone trying to defect. They called it Repulikflucht, or illegal immigration.

East Germans were a bit creative in trying to flee to the more free West Germany, using a variety of methods to get across, including tunneling, hot air ballooning, and one soldier drove a tank through it.

In 1989 after the East and West Berliners could cross “freely,” it was still dangerous, as the Soviets had buried landmines along the Eastern side — so it did take a while for it to be truly safe. And there’s no exact number of people who perished trying to cross the wall, estimates guess somewhere between 136-200 souls lost trying to reach freedom.

Now a little more than two decades after the fall of the wall, a new exhibit has opened up at Unter der Linden 40 in Berlin with never before seen photos taken from the East German perspective. Which is to say, taken from the eastern side of the wall.

The exhibit opened August 5th, which will until October 3 before heading off for an exhibition in Poland.

Maybe the exhibit should circle the globe, as a reminder of hope to all those who are repressed.


10 Responses to “Hope Found When The Berlin Wall Came Down”

  1. Ann says:

    I can’t even imagine the amount of money and man power and resources and time and energy involved in building a 160km concrete barrier around Berlin. I own a piece of the wall which was given to me by a friend who visited just after the wall was taken down. I love your idea of having the exhibit circle the globe, as a reminder of hope to all those who are repressed. It really is the true meaning behind the ‘falling’ of the wall and its also what the little piece of history I have means to me. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Nelson Smallenbarger says:

    Hello everybody, my great grandpa came from Schmalenberg, Germany. I am glad he came to America because he was tired of wars. It seems that all people want to do is start wars anymore. We should want to get along with each other because we are related to one another. Adam and Eve start all of these humans. Thank the lord Berlin is free today. Start loving each other better.

    • Marcus says:

      We Germans grew tired of wars, Nelson, very tired.

      Come on over here and experience the Germany of today and you’ll see and feel how friendly and peace-seeking we have become over the decades and centuries. It’s a breath of fresh air in comparison to most other countries in our world.

      We can’t understand how quickly certain presidents of certain countries reach to weapons once someone doesn’t behave the way they want them to.

      Not anger and pressure but love, understanding and compassion are the solution to our world’s issues and a peaceful, friendly, happy, lovely togetherness.

  3. Josh says:

    This article mentions a Berlin wall exhibition at Unter der Linden, I will not have the opportunity to visit the collection but I would really like to see it. Does anyone know if the collection will be travelling to museums around the world, like sometimes happens with exhibits like this? Poland is mentioned but will it be coming to the UK?

    Or perhaps there is a webpage somewhere that has photos, seeing records like this from photos taken from the East German perspective would be very interesting.


  4. Mag43 says:

    It’s almost inconceivable now to think of a 160km concrete barrier around Berlin, that is a massive undertaking, just the logistics of it never mind the political implications! To think around 200 people lost heir lives trying to breach the wall, it’s quite shocking to think back how bad things must have been.

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