Monday, November 10, 2014

Berlin Wall

I meant to write about this yesterday, but got distracted.  I remember seeing the Berlin Wall before it came down.  In the mid 1970's we were living in Darmstadt, Germany where Mac was stationed in the Army.  Having visited many parts of Germany we decided it was time to see Berlin.  Because of the type of secret clearance Mac had the only way we were allowed to travel to Berlin, which sat in East Germany, was fly or take the troop train.  Not having a lot of money we opted for the troop  train.
It was an overnight trip and when we reached the East German border our passports were collected, armed East German troops boarded our train and patrolled the corridors for the remainder of the trip.  It made me very nervous.
The next morning we were in Berlin, quickly settled into our hotel and headed out to explore.  Berlin was, and I guess still is, a beautiful city.  We wanted to see the Brandenburg Gate that was the control point between East and West Berlin, but we kept walking into the wall, it took forever to find the Gate.  The whole time we were walking I kept thinking about what it must be like to live in a country where they build a wall to keep you in, unnerving and sad.
In fact that was my strongest memory of Berlin, sad.
The Wall stood from 1961 till 1989, an attempt by the Russians to take the city over, or as they said the necessity to protect their people from fascist influence.    Prior to that,  in 1948,  they had cut off all access to Berlin by road or rail and only the American airlift kept Berlin alive. A good book about this period of history is Leon Uris' Aramegddon .
So in 1989 when we watched the Wall come down it was amazing and a tribute to those who believe we should live free.

5 comments:

  1. My daughter's German mother in law lost her entire family to the war. She was child slave labor on a farm. She was an adult when the war ended, trained as a secretary. When the wall was very young she crossed into West Germany and never returned.I am in awe of her courage to walk away and start a new life, still a teenager.

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  2. Thank you for writing about this. We can only hope that such a thing won't happen again.

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  3. You were fortunate to witness this moment in history - I remember it both going up and coming down but have so far never visited Berlin or any other part of Germany. I'd really like to visit the Black Forest area one - another on the long list of places I want see:)

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  4. My Dad lived in Berlin and went through checkpoint Charlie. I am glad that the wall is down now. xx

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