Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Tear down this wall!"

We didn't make it to the Museum of the Wall at Checkpoint Charlie until the second day we were in Berlin, but all over the city the scar left by the wall is evident. A double cobblestone line in the street marks the path of the former wall throughout the city. The wall stood for 28 years and 1 day - a symbol of the Iron Curtain and the literal dividing point between Communism and Democracy. The wall built in 1961 not only separated governments and countries but split families apart, tore people from their jobs, and separated friends.

The Museum of the Wall at Checkpoint Charlie was established in 1962 as a nonviolent protest to the wall. It was built right next the border and contained exhibits on people escaping East Germany. It was a thumb at the Communists right outside their own backyard.Today the museum is a hodge podge of escape tales, facts about the wall, stories of life with the wall, and a chronicle of the USSR. Frankly, the museum is an overload of unorganized information; although bits and pieces are interesting, much of it has nothing to do with the wall. The highlights of the museum are cars altered for escapes, flight contraptions used to fly over the wall, and videos of people tearing down the wall.

The other place in town to experience the wall is the East Side Gallery - a mile long stretch of the wall that is frequently painted by invited artists. Unfortunately, between paintings the wall is heavily graffitied, but they just white-wash it and invite new artist to paint again.

No comments: