Dec 292011

For those of us who grew up during the Cold War, the Berlin Wall was a stark symbol of Communist oppression in concrete and barbed wire.

Living in the United States, it was difficult to imagine the lives of East Berliners, separated from their families and freedom on the other side of the wall. In November, 1989 when the wall was finally brought down, the surprising news was greeted with joyful tears and cheers around the world. There are still places where you can see remnants of the Berlin Wall.

Berlin Wall at the Topography of Terror

The section of the wall pictured above stands on Niederkirchnerstrasse at the Topography of Terror exhibition and documentation center, which was the former site of SS headquarters and Third Reich Security Main Office.

East Side Gallery

The East Side Gallery has over 100 paintings depicting freedom on 1.3km length of one of the last remaining sections of the Berlin Wall.

East Side Gallery

Started in 1990 and completed in 2009, it is located on Mühlenstrasse near the Ostbahnhof.

View from west side at the East Side Gallery

On the west side of the wall behind the East Side Gallery is an open area that borders the river Spree.

Memorial Crosses near the Reichstag

These crosses near the Reichstag, the seat of the German Parliament, are in memory of those who were killed trying to escape from East Berlin between 1961 and 1989.

  41 Responses to “Remnants of the Berlin Wall”

  1. I found myself moved when visiting Berlin and what remains of the wall. Even seeing the brick path representation of where it once was made me emotional as it showed me how closely East and West Berliners lived to each other without being able to connect. Definitely worth a visit.

  2. Awesome stuff…The Newseum in DC has a large section and a full watchtower…We visited over the summer and it was moving just seeing this little bit and wondering how such things even happen in the world…

    • I didn’t realize that the Newseum has those things. I’ll definitely put it on my agenda next time in Washington DC.

  3. An excellent series of images on the wall, Cathy, and how sad the last one.
    By the way, I remember when I first found out that the wall had come down. At that time, I was teaching English in Japan. I went to my front door, and pulled out of the box the English language newspaper we used to have delivered. The headlines said “Berlin Wall down”. Quite unbelievable to see that in big black print on waking up in the morning.

    All the best to you for the coming year!!!

    • Thanks, Andrew. While in Germany, I talked to people who remember when they first heard the news. They couldn’t believe that it was actually happening — such a tremendous moment in history.

  4. Wow! That gallery is so powerful and beautiful. I was only in middle school when the wall came down, but it’s one of two events that I can think of that I remember so vividly. The other being the shuttle exploding, as we lived in Orlando.

    • The impact of the wall coming down was felt all over the world. You mention the shuttle explosion — I remember that tragedy vividly, too.

  5. Like you, I used to think about those families too. How heartbreaking to be so close….thank goodness that wall came down. Thanks for sharing the photos, Cathy. Best wishes for 2012.

  6. Thgis educated me. I thought the whole Wall was gone !

  7. Oops. I meant this. Two finger typing without enuf coffee. Sorry !

    • No problem, Mike — I do that all the time 🙂 — thanks for your comment. I was surprised to learn about sections of the wall still standing, too. I think it’s so important to have those powerful reminders.

  8. Being a Berliner, these pictures chill me. I saw the wall come up and go down and all the human drama in between.

  9. What a moving photo essay. Good catch of the graffiti art on the other side of the art gallery portion of the wall. I guess part of freedom is freedom to make graffitti and although it saddens me to see it in many places, it somehow seems right here.

  10. Striking symbol that calls for silent contemplation.

  11. We didn’t see those crosses when we were there – powerful stuff. The East Side Gallery is still one of the most inspiring things we’ve seen on our travels. 🙂

    • Thank you for your recommendation about visiting the East Side Gallery. I had no idea that portions of the wall still stood before you mentioned it.

  12. Interesting article. Happy New Year!

  13. I didn’t know so much of the wall still existed, either. I haven’t really been to Berlin since it was a divided city. It was a surreal place to visit back then. I’m glad it hasn’t all been torn down. It’s an important part of history. Very interesting and evocative photos, Cathy!

  14. The Berlin Wall was bigger than life in my imagination growing up – especially when you read stories of people trying to escape. I, like most of the others, didn’t appreciate that parts of it are still standing. Very informative post.

    • Thanks, Leigh. That’s how I felt growing up — that it was bigger than life, something so removed from my own life. It’s very sad to think of those that tried to escape, but did not succeed.

  15. Seeing the remnants of the Wall was one of the highlights of our Berlin trip for me…unbelievable

  16. Very interesting, a part of Europe where I’ve never been. Happy 2012 Cathy!

  17. I had not heard of the East Side Gallery until reading Technosyncratic’s post about it. I’d love to visit this area some day.

  18. I love that they’ve put such artful paintings of freedom and hope on a way that used to symbolize hatred and violence. I felt the same way when I saw some of the paintings on walls in South Africa. Thanks for sharing!

  19. […] Berlin: Remnants of the Wall […]

  20. I like that they now have art on the wall, helps give it a bit more meaning.

  21. Berlin has a very particular atmosphere which i can’t describe but which I definitely liked – I really enjoyed walking along the wall.

  22. […] those who haven’t seen remnants of the Berlin Wall in Germany, they can see eight sections of the original wall and a guard tower at the […]

  23. Great photos as usual! We love Berlin because of the vibrancy and because of all this modern history. The horror of it really hits home when you’re there doesn’t it? It’s a few years since we were there and we’re ready for a return trip soon, I think.

  24. […] East Side Gallery, part of the Berlin Wall, features the longest open-air gallery in the world. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, artists […]

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