50 Years Berlin Wall

Today 50 years ago, at August 13 1961, they carved the separation of Germany in stone by building the Berlin Wall.

This wall divided my city int two halves for 28 years.

I am a western child. I grew up in the middle of Germany, close to the ruhr-area.

Being a child I didn’t know much about politics and this crazy wall.
Every fall we used to sent parcels to our relatives in Saxony, close to Dresden.
Package soups, raisins, chocolate and most of all coffee.

At Christmas we got some parcels, sent by our relatives living in the east.
Stollen, the special one from Dresden was inside. It was the most delicious cake I have ever eaten.

Now and then my auntie Hulda visited us. She was the sister of the deceased father of my mom. An elderly lady with curly white hair.
She was allowed to travel since she was older than 65 years at that time.

Her train used to cross the border at Oebisfelde or Helmstedt. Somewhat unreal for me, these little cities.

College found me in Berlin.
My mom felt panic – because of the wall.
But I had fallen in love with this city, my city.

Berlin was bricked in.
But living in Berlin, we have been much more free than all the people living around us.

Via train and car I was able to travel transit right trough the GDR.
Passed the town of Helmstedt and there was western Germany again and any place I wanted to go to.

They just checked the ID-Card at the border or on the train.
But it was a strange feeling anyway.

Now and then I used to visit East-Berlin.
We had to pay 25 Deutsch-Mark compulsory exchange.
We used to call it entrance fee.

I used to meet friends or just exploring the city.
I spent the money on books. I still own a baking book from an eastern publisher.

28 years later, November 9 1989 – that wall came down – thanks God.
But even now, when I am remember that day I am still and always crying.

August 13 1961 was supposed to grout bondage. Freedom was reinstalled on November 9 1989.

I am still happy living in Berlin.
East or West doesn’t matter for me – anymore.
I am going to Spandau, Central, Köpenick, Pankow, Wilmersdorf or Schöneberg – neither East or West, but the whole of Berlin.


The picture at the top of the article shows parts of the so called East-Side-Gallery.
This is a preserved part of the former wall between Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, close to the ricer Spree.
River Spree was the actual border in that area. Therefore the wall has been part of the GDR.
Certainly it wasn’t painted at that time, especially not from the eastside.

Here you can see river Spree, the border-river. On the left the district of Kreuzberg or the West, on the right the district of Friedrichshain or the East.
The white part on the right is the backside of the East-Site-Gallery or THE WALL
I took that picture from U-Bahn (tube), crossing the “Oberbaumbrücke” Oberbaum-Bridge in Kreuzberg.
Until the coming down of the wall, U-Bahn used to stop at “Schlesisches Tor”. Since the reunification it is crossing the Spree via Oberbaumbrücke and is terminated at “Warschauer Straße”
In the Background you can see the television tower at the Alexander Place.

Finally an impression of the Brandenburg Gate.
A symbol of the separation and reunification of Germany and Berlin.

It was a very solemn feeling when walking for the first time through the Brandenburg Gate.
And even now 22 years after the falling of the wall it is still very impressively.
For 28 years nobody was able to be at the Brandenburg Gate.
For the people of the GDR it was border area, and for those of the west: there was the wall.


Some Links from the papers – photos, impressions – Berliner Zeitung, Tagesspiegel, Der Spiegel. Even if you are not able to read German, maybe some of the photos are interesting for you.

Zeitzeugen: Generation Mauer – Contemporary Witnesses: Generation Wall –

50 Jahre Mauerbau – Themenseite Der Spiegel – 50 Years Berlin Wall –

50 Jahre Mauerbau – der entzweite Staat – The divided Country

Fotogalerie: Gedenken an den Mauerbau – Photos: Remembering the Berlin Wall

Fotostrecke: 50 Jahre Mauerbau im Panorama – Photos: Wall Panorama

Wo war eigentlich die Mauer – Where the Wall used to be?

Spezial der Berliner Zeitung: 50 Jahre Mauerbau – Special of the Berliner Zeitung: 50 Years Berlin Wall

Mein 13. August 1961 – Zeitzeugen erinnern sich – My August 13 1961 – contemporary witnesses remember

Watching the Wall Go Up – ‘West Berliners Felt Abandoned and Powerless’


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