Saturday, September 17, 2011

Berlin - east and west - July1972

When I arrived by plan at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport in July 1972, I went straight by rail to my aunt and uncle's place in Dortmund, Germany. After that it was a week's visit to Berlin where more relatives lived, another aunt (mother's sister) and uncle. I took several photos during my stay in West Berlin. Above is a photo of the Soviet Memorial in East Berlin and below a depressing-looking rail yard also in East Berlin.
A view of the Soviet era buildings in East Berlin above and a scene along the wall that divided the city (below).
The no man's land behind the wall on the East Berlin side of the wall (above) and a sign near Checkpoint Charlie looking from the west toward East Berlin.
Here is a view of the Spree River looking into East Berlin from the west and below a shot of the Reichstag in West Berlin not far from the wall.
This is a shot of Alexanderplatz in East Berlin as it appeared in July 1972 and a view of Stalinallee, also in the east.
And below is a view of the Brandenburg Gate as seen from East Berlin. During the visit I got to see the gate from both sides of the wall. All this is now but a memory now that Germany is no longer divided. I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse into history! - V


Jeremy said...

I am a BERLINER :-)
I lived there for 3 and later for 7 years ... was the best time in my live !

DeepBlue said...

Could you tell what impressions each Berlin, East and West, has left you back then. Being of German descent, how did withnessing the state in which Germany was in 1972 affected you, a young 19 y.o. man?
(btw, were you born in Canada or Germany?)

SpiritMountainGuy said...

The two Berlins at the time were like night and day as far as the differences were concerned. East Berlin felt depressing as far as the mood was concerned. It felt like you were being watched in every move. On the other hand, West Berlin was vibrant and full of life. So, why was the wall built in 1961? To keep people in of course. People were just walking across the border into the west up to that point. If the regime was so great, why would the authorities have to build a wall anyways?

I was born in southwestern Germany. My mother was from Berlin and my father from East Prussia. There were family member in both east and west Germany and still are.

I became a Canadian citizen in 1966 along with my father and younger brother. Our mother became a citizen shortly before us. As a Canadian, it was easier traveling in both parts of Germany. A West German had to go through a lot of red tape in order to make a visit to the east to see relatives. For me it was a formality and I could make a visit the same day where as my German counterparts had to wait weeks or months.

Hopefully that answers you questions. Feel free to ask more if you like. - V

SpiritMountainGuy said...

Jeremy, my mother and her sister were born and raised in Berlin. The hospital where both were born was in the centre of the city in what would later be part of East Berlin. The mother of my mother's first husband lived in East Berlin (Biesdorf) where my mother and her first husband once had an apartment until it was bombed out in 1944. Her first husband was a submariner and died early on during the war.

I'm glad you enjoyed your time in the city. Berlin has always had a lot to offer depending on what a person was looking for. Culture and food was tops! - V