Fotoeins Fotografie

the visible wor(l)d, between 🇨🇦 and 🇩🇪
Former path of the Wall, Ebertstrasse, near Platz des 18. März, Brandenburger Tor, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: shadows from the Berlin Wall

In the early hours of 13 August 1961, construction began quietly on the Berlin Wall, as residents of the city slept. Two months earlier in response to a journalist’s question about rumours of a wall, East German leader Ulbricht publicly stated: “Niemand hat die Absicht, eine Mauer zu errichten!” (No one has any intention of building a wall.)

East Germany (DDR/GDR) asserted the wall’s purpose as an “anti-fascist protection barrier” to protect its citizens from the West. With thousands streaming to the west, the GDR could not afford to continue losing people and their subsequent productivity to the economy; the nation’s wall would keep her own people locked inside. Berlin was visibly divided in two, as too, would the ideological and physical separation between West and East Germany.

With the fall of the Wall in 1989, large portions of the Wall were demolished in a rush to destroy visible reminders, save for a number of notable exceptions throughout the city. Few wall remnants or fragments remain; the East Side Gallery, the long segment on Niederkirchner Strasse, and the Memorial and Documentation Centre at Bernauer Strasse are some of the most visible. As shown above, cobblestones on the pavement provide visible traces and essential reminders about the former route of the Wall.

I made the photo above on 19 October 2012 in Berlin on Ebertstrasse, just west of Platz des 18. März and Brandenburg Gate (near position 12 in this walking tour). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-5gu.

10 Responses to “Fotoeins Friday: shadows from the Berlin Wall”

  1. malaysianmeanders

    I’m glad that they’ve marked where it stood so that people will not forget the lengths that those in power will go through to keep a city divided.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • fotoeins

      Hi, Michele. It’s easy to forget, like that saying “out of sight, out of mind”. Most Germans are very conscious about keeping memories alive, so past mistakes should not be repeated. Thanks for reading and for your comment!

      Like

  2. InsideJourneys

    Can’t trust politicians, can you? I bet he said that with a straight face.
    That part of the Wall ran straight down a street! I can’t even begin to imagine what building it and having it up for all that time did to the psyche of the German people.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • fotoeins

      Hi, Marcia. There is footage of the press conference where Ulbricht seems befuddled by the question, but yes, he answers the question in an almost casual earnest manner. I’ts hard to imagine how a small group of people would set about and control the fate of a country for decades; might there be lessons applied today? Have you been to Berlin? Yes, the walls went down streets, dividing neighbourhoods, splitting up families who lived in the East and West parts of the city (and country). Thanks for reading and for your comment!

      Like

  3. Anna | slightly astray

    I was just in Berlin, and it was incredible to see the wall (both the remains, and the cobblestone print) in person. I’ve only ever heard about it from history classes before, but seeing it definitely made me understand what an impact to the city it must have been!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • fotoeins

      Hi, Anna. I agree: it’s one thing to read about the history, and it’s entirely another to stand in front of the Wall (remnants). It’s a little sad, to be sure, but it’s also one of the reasons why I love the city: history and her lessons aren’t very far to be found in Berlin. Thanks for reading and for your comment!

      Like

  4. Nerd Nomads (@NerdNomads)

    Great photo! I visited Berlin only a few years after the wall fell. At that time it was still very visible, and east and west Berlin were not as reunited as they are today. I still remember the feeling of looking up at that gigantic wall, and can only imagine how it must have felt for the people living in Berlin during the time of the wall, being separated from family and friends. That is why I love Berlin, it has so much history everywhere and is still such a vibrant and cool city!

    Like

    Reply
    • fotoeins

      How does anyone summarize Berlin or even try? But try we all must, because those of us who love Berlin stretch for brief sentences to describe all that is the German capital! 🙂 Thanks for reading and for your comment!

      Like

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