Die Mauer, Zwanzig Jahre Weg

The Wall, Twenty Years Gone

I’ve always been fascinated by the whole Berlin division thing. Yesterday my friend had a conversation with a woman who grew up in East Berlin. She described for him what it was like to drive back into her neighborhood after being gone for 15 years, seeing avenues where there had been only dead ends.

In contemplating this anniversary, I found myself musing on a similar thing morning. I wondered how many Ossis had a sense of vertigo and agoraphobia on their first visits to the West. After living in a society with so many understood and expected privations, and then to wander headlong into a place where anything goes, everything is available, and it is all out of reach financially would be really disturbing. You live this compact lifestyle, totally connected to the state, and then suddenly, it’s just not good enough — and in fact, in no time at all, it’s not even there.

I think a lot of people must have struggled with coming to terms with materialism and consumerism. I’ve lived in a consumer society my whole life and am becoming more irritated by it every day. Imagine the culture shock of being plunged into it in one fell swoop.

You grow up thinking that the Wall is the end of the world. Like the ocean. . . something that defines the edges, something you can’t enter. . . and then that barrier is lifted. Dead-ends become avenues and all the new avenues lead AWAY from your home.

My guess is that a lot of quiet contemplation happened as East Berliners reprocessed their places in the world. . .

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2 Responses to “Die Mauer, Zwanzig Jahre Weg”

  1. Very interesting indeed!
    Just to complete Your report, I invite You to see my blog with borders, in which there is also a rich collection of “pre-wall” Berlins (1950-1961).
    Best wishes from an Estonian living in Italy!

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