Sunday, 9 November 2014

The Berlin Wall in 1976

From an old Travel Diary.

 September, 1976.

West Berlin was a bright, sparkling modern city, neon signs flashing. We had a very short time in Berlin, two hours' sightseeing, and one hour's shopping. During the sightseeing, we saw the usual statues and large buildings, also the Soviet War Memorial (well guarded) and the Olympic Stadium. An incredible feeling - that that was where Hitler actually was.

And then of course, THE WALL.  Quite a low wall, unimpressive, with no extra markers or anything on the West Berlin side to show that if you climbed over, you would be shot dead. There were signs to warn you that you would be leaving West Berlin, and many slogans painted on the wall (about ten feet high, I suppose)  and when you could see over, there was a wide bare strip, with soldiers in pill-boxes here and there, and barbed wire, and alert-looking Alsatian dogs. And another fence further into East Germany. It did look utterly impossible to get across undetected. So many people killed there, trying to cross that narrow strip of land!

And just over the wall, too, was a little rise under which was Hitler's Bunker. The scene of so much history, Berlin,  and now how strange it would be in that bustling city - a city in the middle of a foreign and hostile country.

At 11.00 am, we left Berlin, though the Checkpoint, which took quite some time, and then the long drive through East Germany. Almost immediately after crossing the Border, we were in country-side. We didn't really see East Berlin at all - except a little over the Wall. A few small towns, but mostly emptiness, so depopulated does East Germany seem in spite of her wall.


 'Freiheit für alle' means 'Freedom for all.' 
25 years ago, the wall came down.












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