Twenty years ago, the Berlin Wall was opened and Germany was reunited about a year later. I remember reading about it in November 1989, maybe a bit too young to fully understand the impact of this monumental event.

Construction of the Wall started in 1961 and a decade later it had grown to 43 kilometers, completely surrounding West Berlin. During the Wall years, roughly 5000 people managed to escape, a tenth of them being police officers. Over 200 people were killed during escape attempts.

Reine at the Berlin Wall At the Wall in 2002.

I visited Checkpoint Charlie many years ago where there is a museum demonstrating ingenious methods of escape conceived by desperate citizens. There are many books on the subject and I can recommend “It happened at the wall” by Rainer Hildebrandt which has a lot of interesting photographs.

“It’s a summer in Berlin
The heat of the sun which is stored in the pavement feels so fine
That’s when you’re longing
For a summer by the wall”
— Alphaville, Summer in Berlin (1984)


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