|Oberbaumbrücke amidst lighted balloons|
This weekend Berlin celebrates an unprecedent event – the 25th anniversary of the fall of Berlin wall. The event will be highlighted with a great lighting installation that will mark the border of a former Berlin Wall. The installation stretches for around 15 kilometres and will feature 8000 helium-filled white balloons that are clipped on stands that use battery-lit LEDs to illuminate the balloons alike street lamps.
The event is taking place on 7-9 November, as the 9th November is the day the Wall ceased to exist – not physical, but in peoples’ minds first of all.
The Fall of the Wall is an important historical event that will remain in the memories of the witnesses who have seen its erection and decay. This artificial obstacle separated people’s lifes, their families and dreams for years between two different and controversial systems of values untill everybody could finally rejoice in 1989.
Undoubtedly the Fall of the Berlin Wall is a great event marking the liberation and rejoicing of peoples’ destinies. Maybe it makes Berlin such a diverse city and comfortable in the same time – filled with different people who shape its unique image and atmosphere.
The organizers at the official web site of the event offer a lot af activities within the celebration of this milestone. Activities feature open-air concerts, welcoming by celebrities and officials and a simultaneous release of ballons up to the sky on 9th November. Anyone can join and send their virtual message up to the sky with baloons thrhough the web site. The organizers also offer guided tours along the border of former Wall, telling the stories of simple people who succeeded or failed to get over the Wall.
The official teaser of the event
Meanwhile in order to keep up, our blog is also highlighting the event with the pictures from the first day of the installation. Look out for an update from us when the balloons will be released!
The Fall of the Wall as we said before was an expressible relief for the citizens of the parted city. However it was also the time of grief and sorrow, as some people were trying to escape GDR and get over the wall but failed to do so. The organizers offer us to dive into the stories of the people who lived during this harsh time through info stands near the installation. They have compiled 50 stories that happened to real people and queer situations that are available at the info stands. We would like to quote some of them.
On the western side of the corner of Kopenicker Strasse and Bethaniendamm was a pub “Grenzquelle”. It ceased operating in 13 August 1961 when the Wall was erected. In summer 1962 a group of young man were trying to dig the tunnel under the premises of a bar to escape under the Wall. It is known that unofficial collaborator for the GDR secret police (Stasi) had observed the activities of the youth and reported shortly. However the youngsters could not get any further because of the foundations. Luckily, the identities of young men were not recognized, but the site remained under observations from there on.
It is worth mentioning that the Wall was not guarded by troops only, but also received support from public in form of volunteers who took patrol shifts sometimes. They detected and prevented attempts to escape and some of them were spies for the Stasi. (More info about Stasi secret service police you can find in an article about Leipzig in this blog). It was estimated that about 3 000 east Germans served as assistants in the late 1980’s.
The loudspeakers warfare
After the sector was sealed in August 1961 a loudspeaker war between East and West Berlin broke out which lasted until 1965. It started when the West erected placards with a message fot the GDR police and border guards with a message “Germans, don’t fire at Germans”. East Berlin responded with loudspeaker propaganda and this was met in turn by a joint initiative of the West Berlin Senate and RIAS radio station. They rolled out Volkswagen buses equipped with loudspeakers that transmitted the messages and announcements over the Wall into the Eastern sector. In 1965 East ceased its propaganda since it could not compete with the technical equipment of that of the West. Some info in this article on stripes.com.
The stories were recorded from the info stands at the event. More of them could be found on the website.
The closing ceremony
On 9th of November the simultaneous ceremonial release of the balloons took place. The stage in front of Brandenburger Tor gathered thousands of visitors who came to admire this event. The people were addressed by the mayor of Berlin – Klaus Wowereit and other officials.
It should be mentioned that the lighting installations were conceived and executed by artists Christopher Bauder and Marc Bauder who in this form gave their input to the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of Berlin Wall.
|Christopher and Marc Bauder/lichtgrenze.de|
We offer you to take a look at a release of the balloons. The streets were packed with people who came to watch this process on Sunday evening.
Berlin weint. Vor Freude. Heute wie vor 25 Jahren.
Posted by ZDF heute on 9 листопада 2014 р.
Another great idea which was done by the team of Lichtgrenze is that people could become balloon patrons and share their wishes and memories about the fall of the wall by attaching them to the lighting ballons on their release.
The interactive map on the website shows were the balloons were found and tells us the stories on the cards, released the sky on 9th November.
The great celebration gathered people who witnessed the Wall and younger generations who have never experienced living being torn apart under the great idea of unity and mutual understanding. This was an important milestone in German culture and somehow we believe that made people of this time more stronger and able to tackle issues together.
Hoping for the better future,
Gemeinsam sind wir stark!