The recent WordPress Photo Challenge is about change. When I think about changes, a lot would come to my mind, but then I found a photo in my folders that I shot last year, it’s a photo about two big changes, the divided Germany, and also the German reunification. I will show you remaining pieces of the wall that divided East and West Germany. I shot the photo somewhere between the federal states Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, not far away from our city Lübeck that was on west side of the border, but pretty close to it.
As our city was so close to the border, it’s not hard to find people here that can tell you stories about divided families. What is also interesting, if the pen would have drawn the border a little bit more to the left, our city would have been a city of East Germany back then. Talking about the German reunification, I still remember the days when the border opened, I was 8 years old, something was going on, every family member talked about one subject, every TV channel was the same, we kids tried to grasp what was going on, the adults tried to explain.
Then, the next day, suddenly the streets of our city were full of cars that I had never seen before, the adults told us what reunification means, we kids started to understand what it meant, probably not in full historical context, that’s something we learned later. However, as the border was not far away, the adults decided to drive there with us, everyone was curious to check out the death strip.
It was afternoon, I remember the dark heaven, all the barbed wires, the big walls, the watchtowers, it was interesting, to me it was something new, but it appeared strange and creepy, and the adults seemed to be depressed, the silence, I felt the sadness. When I asked my mother if we could run over the big field, all adults replied at the same time “No, there can be still mines, they are dangerous!” and they talked about a sign they have read.
After that day, and I didn’t know the term back then, people seemed to be in a happy mood, today I’d say they were in a patriotic mood, but in some way people also seemed to be suspicious. Today I’d say, reunification doesn’t happen in a few days, it actually took way more time, the borders made people become unfamiliar with each other, but this border was torn off over time too, that was my impression over the years.
That’s how I experienced the German reunification as a kid and the following time. My photo inspired me to write this down, I hope you enjoyed the post, even if it was a more serious subject.