Alexanderplatz, Berlin Public Display

Today, I strolled around this display of images and words documenting the East German resistance to the regime and the burst of freedom as individuals and families pushed their way through fences, over walls, and through the finally tumbling barricades. It is the largest public display of images from the era that I have seen so far. I learned that the designer’s purpose was to help East Germans regain their lost confidence, to demonstrate the power of their historical actions. As I read the display, a man approached me to offer his opinion. An East German who appeared to be in his sixties, he tried to explain in broken English why he was not happy with the changes. He said that before, he had work, and there was a feeling of community. Now he lives in his 1-room flat in East Berlin, and is very lonely. He said that many others are living there alone, also lonely. He told stories of suicides after 1989. He disparagingly and dismissingly¬†gestured to a symbol of the changes just in front of us: a Western clothing store with the name “New Yorker” in shiny red letters. As he talked, tears welled up in his eyes, until he sauntered away. I am calling him “The Honest Stranger.”

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2 Responses to “Alexanderplatz, Berlin Public Display”

  1. beverly in brazil Says:

    That’s a really touching story. I wonder whether there are polls that give a sense of how widespread this discontent really is.

  2. Dear Susan:

    Thank you so much for sharing this display with us. In 1996 I was in Berlin at the Checkpoint Charlie Museum which I also found so moving. What a historical time to be in Berlin with the anniversary. Best, Sloane

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