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Berlin Wall memories

(16 Posts)
InterruptingKid Mon 09-Nov-09 09:27:47

we went to berlin when my dad was in the forces stationed in Germany. We used the sealed train from ? Hannover? ( not sure) through East germany where we had a meal on it( shock for stingy 70s parents) and the whoel train from what i remember was stuck in a late 50s timewarp,

UPon arriving at the border goose stepping guards appeared on the platform and checked out passses. We were terrified as a good 1980s (pre sting "do the russians love" ) kid was wink.

we stayed in a lovely flat in west berlin and walked miles along the (interestingly grafitited) wall - did the Reichstag museum and checkpoitn charlie.
ON one day we got as Armed forces types to enter the Russian Zone and dad had to wear full uniform. we had a tour of the Russian war cemetary adn got to shop at at very favourable exchange rate in East German departement stores. I reember trying on boots near a Russian soldier and that freaked me out. AT ONE point mum was buying gloves from an assitant and when dad hoved into view she suddenly became a lot less helpful!
I still have a piece( very small) of the wal I got on that trip. its grey and stone like.

InterruptingKid Mon 09-Nov-09 09:31:01

oh and I have a photo of me in full "new romantic" garb in front of wall

WynkenBlynkenandNod Mon 09-Nov-09 09:39:23

My memories aren't of the Berlin wall I didn't ever go to Berlin but did see the border further along whilst on a school exchange. On the West German side there was a small sign a few feet high that said "Stop here, border". Behind it was a massive wire fence, goodness knows how high and covered with barbed wire. Gun towers with armed soldiers and I think there were also German Shepherd Dogs. It was a very subdued group of British Teenagers stood at the little West German sign that day.

Another time I was in Germany with my Mum on a train (my Mum is German). We were very surprised to be asked for our passports but dutifully showed them. There seemed to be a fair few elderly ladies traveling on the train. One was opposite me and spent the entire time open staring at my batwing jumper (oh the shame !), as if she was taking in every stitch.

I felt very uncomfortable about this being about 15. Mum was trying to work out what was going on then realised that we were near the border and this was a train that had East German pensioners who were allowed over the border. She explained the lady would never have seen a jumper like mine, hence the staring.

InterruptingKid Mon 09-Nov-09 09:43:50

oh i see.
or it was an 80s monstrosity!( or both)

WynkenBlynkenandNod Mon 09-Nov-09 09:46:10

Well it was an 80s monstrosity as well I think !

InterruptingKid Mon 09-Nov-09 09:46:56

I rememebr the wild dogs
and next to where the Riechstag museum was hten lots of crosses on the wall by the river where people had drowned

ajamore Mon 09-Nov-09 14:24:32

I have a photo of me in front of the wall in the 80s with heavily back-combed hair, looking dour grin

I also remember encountering a huge group of soldiers and their wives at Checkpoint Charlie but they must have been officers or something (woeful lack of knowledge of all things military)and they were really braying hooray henry types - all the women looked like Lady Di in floaty numbers and pearl chokers. Twas my first encounter with that particular phenomena - very incongruous given the surroundings.

A strange man kept coming up to us as my mate and I were walking near the main street near the Reichstag - tapping his nose and saying that he shouldn't be seen talking to us but that "once he had been to Nottingham" - he was very enigmatic and my friend and I thought he must have been a spy and this was some kind of code. We found it all very unnerving!

HeadFairy Mon 09-Nov-09 14:36:07

I didn't go to Berlin when the wall was up, but I spent 8 weeks there during the world cup in 2006... I'd never been to the city and totally fell in love with it. I think the way they've kept the route of the wall is very clever, the holocaust memorial is terribly moving and the whole city has done a really amazing job at preserving what happened there, both during WW2 and after, remembering the tragedies that have happened while also becoming a modern lively city. Ich bin ein Berliner!

MmeLindt Mon 09-Nov-09 14:38:11

Marking my place on this thread, will be back after the school run.

Can you believe it is 20 years since the wall came down? There is a whole generation of Germans who know the 'Wende' only from history books, not from personal memories.

MmeLindt Mon 09-Nov-09 20:09:33

My first visit to Berlin was in 1990, the year after the wall came down.

I can remember clearly watching TV with my Dad a year earlier, seeing the joy and happiness on the faces of normal people.

When our Venture Scout group decided to visit Germany, we were determined to go to Berlin. We went with a group of Scouts from Bonn, who we were visiting.

It was for our Bonner friends also the first trip to East Germany, we went to Leipzig and Dresden before travelling to Berlin.

The difference between the East German and the West German territories were marked. West Germany was very well off in comparison.

We sneaked into the concert of Pink Floyd, The Wall. We watched as they built up a polystyrene wall then chanted 'Tear down the Wall, Tear down the Wall, Tear down the Wall...' until the blocks came tumbling down, to great cheers from the crowd.

The atmosphere in the summer of 1990 in Berlin was electric, there was such hope in the air.

MmeLindt Mon 09-Nov-09 21:47:50

DH just told me about this video of Paul Potts in Leipzig.

JandLandG Tue 10-Nov-09 00:39:36

hey, thanks for that ML...enjoyable bit of flash opera type thingy.

Leipzig's a cracking place, i was there during the world cup in 06 and was so impressed i took the nipper's there a few weeks after i got back.

one of my favourite photos of them is on the cobbles near the nikolaikirche where the monday night prayer meetings were held.

we also went to the station featured in that clip...and enjoyed wandering round the streets made up of old apartment buildings just outside the centre...from the open windows of more than one of them drifted the sounds of violins or pianos being practised. but there were still grown over bombsites left from the war and patches of waste ground honecker and his mates never got round to collectivising.

astonishing events in 1989...i was doing a module on east european politics during my degree that very term...the text books were torn up and we just read the papers and watched telly!

funnily nostalgic for the end of something that absolutely terrified me throughout my teens...i was convinced we were all going to die in a nuclear seemed inevitable back then, didnt it?

time to hunt my old scorpions albums i think grin

madwomanintheattic Tue 10-Nov-09 01:03:24

i remember being at uni when the wall came down and the realisation that we could just, well, go, if we wanted to...

a few years later i took a night train from dusseldorf to prague. the train journeys were still the same - booted guards in the corridors checking passports etc etc. no leaving your cabin after 10pm. the countryside that seemingly hadn't changed in hundreds of years...

MmeLindt Tue 10-Nov-09 06:36:29

Interesting to hear how Leipzig has changed. I have not been back there since 1990 but my DH visited the city around that time and said it was the 'Wilde Osten'.

He was also struck by the fact that they all left their lights on all day, the windows open and never worried about utility bills. It took a while for it to sink in that when one is actually responsible and billable for the used energy that it is a good idea to conserve it.

I have been back to Berlin on several occassions since. Once in about 1994ish when the whole town was a building site, cranes everywhere. Then again in 2005 to find that the spot of the famous Pink Floyd concert was now a sparkly new shopping/business centre, Potsdamer Platz.

springlamb Tue 10-Nov-09 14:21:49

Never saw it but when I look back now it's one of the final events that, I think, shaped me as an adult. Come onnnn, come over!
Am thinking now of other events that shaped me.
The last one I think would be John McCarthy coming home, what a night that was in the pub!

BloodRedTulips Tue 10-Nov-09 14:31:40

We were living in West Germany when the wall came down.

I was only 5 so the true signifigance passed over my head but i remember seeing it on tv and understanding that something really important was happening.

A few months later we drove to Berlin to see it. We had to leave when it was still pitch black dark in the morning and drove for hours and when we got there it was all so strange, the city was still effectivly two halves at that point although there were gaping big holes in the wall, but somehow you could still feel the differance, the east to my child's mind felt cold and grim and i didn't like it, we spent most of the day on the west side when it felt 'safer'. There was an odd ambience though, i understood even at that young age that this wasn't one of our usual day trips to see a nice town but something that i needed to see, something vastly more important than seeing some pretty buildings.

There were people all over berlin with rugs spread on the ground selling chunks of the wall. I still have my piece.

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