The Berlin Wall as History and Art

The Berlin Wall was erected in 1963. It was decommissioned as a barrier for dividing East and West Berlin in 1989. The Wall was emblematic of the Cold War and a point of geopolitical tension. There had been so many people escaping from the communist “paradise” in the East to the “rotten” capitalist West that the East German government built the wall to help stem the outflow of people. Sadly, many people died while still attempting to cross even afterwards. Walls don’t work that well, so this wall was reinforced with guards, weapons, and bullets.

Berlin Wall Memorial

The Friedhof Sophien II Cemetery on the east side of the wall.

The lookout guard tower.

A monument representing the location of the wall. The wall was actually a double wall with a “no man’s land” in between. A double wall made it easier to detain or shoot people, who were in between the set of two walls.

The Chapel of Reconcilliation.

Wall segments with rebar-reinforced concrete and a symbolic monument continuation.

Wall segments.

This is the Window of Remembrance. The people whose, faces are in the window, died while attempting to go from East to West.

Watch the excellent Steven Spielberg film “Bridge of Spies” with Tom Hanks to get a good sense of this historical and geographical space. After leaving Berlin, we watched the film in Prague on my iPad. It was riveting to see the Wall and watch the film successively.

East Side Gallery

This is the fun part of the wall, located about 3 miles away. It is a celebration of people’s ability to transform tragedy into something beautiful. The East Side Gallery is an entirely outdoor mural art installation. The murals on the wall extend for almost a mile. There is a lot to see on this long and colorful wall! Unfortunately it was late in the day and we ran out of time to see all of it.

Not strictly part of the wall but fun to see and parked right next to the wall!


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