Monday, November 28, 2011

The Berlin Wall: Reminder Of Past Times

  The Berlin Wall (Ger.: Berliner Mauer) is a state reinforced barrier between the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and West Berlin. It was constructed from 1961 till 1989 and its total length is 155km.

At midnight, the police and units of the East German army began to close the border and, by Sunday morning, 13 August, the border with West Berlin was closed. East German troops and workers had begun to tear up streets running alongside the border to make them impassable to most vehicles and to install barbed wire entanglements and fences for 156 km around the three western sectors, and the 43 km that divided West and East Berlin. During the construction some underground railway stations were closed. Many soldiers watched by the Wall all day long with orders to shoot anyone who attempted to defect. 

With the closing of the East-West sector boundary in Berlin, the vast majority of East Germans could no longer travel or emigrate to West Germany. Many families were split, while East Berliners employed in the West were cut off from their jobs. West Berlin became an isolated enclave in a hostile land. 

So when in 1989 Hungary destroyed its fortifications from Austria and GDR didn't follow this example, streams of dissatisfied people poured in other European countries in order to get then in Western Germany.

That is why in 1989 the Berlin Wall lost its purpose. The German government decided to introduce new laws on entry and exit from the country. According to them GDR citizens can get visas for interim staying in West Berlin or FRG. Thousands of Germans came to the Wall that day and surprised and overwhelmed guards could not hold back the huge crowd of East German citizens. The guards finally yielded, opened the checkpoints and allowed people through with little or no identity checking. It was a national holiday, there was an inexpressible atmosphere of brotherhood and happiness.

During the next three years more than 3 millions of people visit the West. The Wall was still standing but just as a symbol of past times. It was very destroyed and painted with graffiti.

Eastern Germans invented many ways to get to West Berlin: they dug up tunnels, flew by hang gliders, by balloons, by ropes between neighbouring houses, rode on cars with folding tops or just rammed the Wall with bulldozers.

Remains of the Wall were saved in the East-Side Gallery that is the result of painters' works.


The second place where remains were saved is in Niederkirchenstrasse street. Behind the wall there is the exhibition Topography of Terror. The Wall is rather destroyed because every tourist wants to have a little piece of it.

The third place is the Invalidenfriedhof cemetery with 150 metres of the Wall.

And the last one is The Berlin Wall Memorial.

via piran_pm

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