Visiting Remnants of the Berlin Wall in Berlin

Remnants of the Berlin Wall in Potsdamer Platz, Berlin

Remnants of the Berlin Wall in Potsdamer Platz, Berlin

I visited and traveled around Germany with my Sister in 2009. Spending time in the distinctive city of Berlin was a highlight. On the 25th anniversary of the “falling” of the Berlin Wall (“Berliner Mauer”), I recall my own visit to the remains of the Wall in Berlin.

My first “hands on” experience with the Berlin Wall was holding a bag filled with chunks of the Wall that had been daringly chipped away and brought back to the US from Berlin by my Mom & Stepdad (daring, indeed) in 1990. I was 18 years old when the barrier between East and West Berlin opened and while I remember the news coverage, photos and of course, the stories from my Parents, as a young adult in the USA the entire situation was not easily grasped.

Being in Berlin was a colorful, educational and emotional experience. With respect to the Berlin Wall, most of the remnants of the Wall located in various spots in Berlin (and around the world) that I witnessed were covered with art and graffiti. It is just odd being in front of these segments of the “mauer” given what they represent.

A section of the Berlin Wall in Berlin

A section of the Berlin Wall in Berlin

What truly struck me was witnessing the remaining 200 meters of the Wall at Niederkirchnerstraße which has been preserved since 1989 and are without decoration. This section marked the border between the districts of Mitte (East Berlin) and Kreuzberg (West Berlin) and is the longest in tact segment of the outer wall. This fragment of the Wall (which was designated a historic monument in 1990) is one of the few sections of the Wall in Berlin that was not demolished. It is now part of the Topography of Terror Site which is an outdoor and indoor history museum. This site holds enormous significance as it is also the previous location of the Gestapo and SS Headquarters during the Nazi regime from 1933 to 1945. It was physically and emotionally uncomfortable standing in this area. The feelings of empathy for the innocent people whose lives were affected and ruined by what transpired in this vicinity was overwhelming. It was a chilling reminder.

“Berliner Mauer” = Berlin Wall

“Berliner Mauer” = Berlin Wall

 

200 meters of the Wall at Niederkirchnerstraße

200 meters of the Wall at Niederkirchnerstraße

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Sections of the Wall at Niederkirchnerstraße

Visiting Berlin was an experience that I shall never forget.

May the celebration marking 25 years since this somber, hopeful and unique moment in history bring comfort to those who seek it.

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