How Photos Depicted Life Behind The Berlin Wall, 30 Years Onward

Forbes Lifestyle 1 week ago
The Berlin Wall in 1980
A young woman looks at the no man's land on the other side of the Berlin Wall in April 1980, ... [+] Germany. (Photo by Alain MINGAM / Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Today marks the 30 year anniversary since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

It’s hard to believe that it has been 30 years since half a million people gathered in East Berlin to protest, demanding democracy, and that the Berlin Wall fell shortly later. There are countless photos from the era—people climbing over the wall, embracing long-lost family members—but which ones best tell the story of the reunified city?

While the city of Berlin has several celebrations planned for this week (don’t miss the public ribbon artwork at Brandenburg Gate), there are also several photography exhibitions too, which depict life in East Berlin. They also detail how the Wall was a message board for society in both East and West Berlin; people writing messages for loved ones, protest graffiti, artworks and memorials. Here are some of the exhibitions now on view in Berlin, and what photographs that were taken before and after the Wall fell in 1989 (besides that infamous David Hasselhoff concert).

Germany; GDR; East Berlin; Checkpoint Oberbaumbruecke: patrol boat on the Spreee river - 1970
(GERMANY OUT) Germany; GDR; East Berlin; Checkpoint Oberbaumbruecke: patrol boat on the Spreee river ... [+] - 1970 (Photo by Volker Pawlowski/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Walls

Until December 22, this group exhibition on at the Marienfelde Refugee Center Museum looks at three European cities that experienced political divisions and walls; Berlin, Nova Gorica and Sarajevo, showing historical photographs from each city. The photos are accompanied by commentary from locals who experienced the divisions in each of their cities and survived to tell their stories.

Everyday Life: The Wall, The Stasi

The DDR Museum in Berlin, which is arguably the most compelling collection of East Berlin artefacts in the city, is truly like walking back into a time warp. The museum has over 300,000 objects from the DDR, and their impressive permanent exhibition includes household appliances and furniture in life-sized sets showing kitchens and living rooms. Among the photos in their collection, there are East Berlin hotel pamphlets, shots of a traffic jam at Brandenburg Gate and old fashion catalogues. Their current exhibition, Everyday Life: The Wall, The Stasi: All Under One Roof looks at life behind the wall and how difficult it really was.

Scenes of Berlin 1965
Scenes in East Berlin, four years after work began on the construction of the Berlin Wall, ... [+] separating East from West. Local citizens wait for the bus in Central berlin, 26th May 1965. (Photo by Ron Burton/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

German History From The Middle Ages To The Fall Of The Berlin Wall

This permanent exhibition at the German History Museum is a must-see. In fact, it can be rather overwhelming, as hundreds of objects trace Germany's political history here, from protest placards to military uniforms and old films. One section focuses on photos from the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, as well as German reunification in 1990.

East Berlin: Half a Capital

This photo exhibit looks at how the Berlin Wall changed the city - from its initial construction to its culture. With black and white photos of a seemingly empty city, it shows what the main square of Alexanderplatz looked like, as well as how the city's skyline changed over the decades. Until November 10 at the Museum Ephraim-Palais.

Karl-Marx-Allee Ost-Berlin
(GERMANY OUT) Spaziergänger auf der Karl-Marx-Allee in Ost-Berlin- 1960er Jahre (Photo by ... [+] Lehnartz/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

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