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Saturday, 4 June 2016

Arrival in Berlin

We drove as fast as we could from Tychy in Poland to Berlin, taking roughly five hours.  The fastest we managed was 213 kilometres an hour.  

Heading along the motorway towards Berlin
We arrived in Berlin mid-afternoon.  The first landmark I spotted in the distance was the Fernsehturm - the tall, thin building shown here in the background.  At right on the building's facade is the famous photo of a fleeing 'Vopo' (East German border guard) who chose to escape over the newly established Berlin Wall in 1961.
We went looking for Ackerstrasse which is the scene of a German language trilogy I've read by Klaus Kordon.  While there, I discovered the Berlin Wall had cut the street in half, but now, in a reunited Berlin, a memorial on the site is to be found.  

The 'posts' at left mark the spot where the western-most Wall once stood.  Where the people are gathered at right marks where the eastern-most Wall used to be.  In the middle is the former no-man's land.
This says the Berlin Wall stood from 1961 until 1989.
Nearby is a surviving piece of the Wall.  It felt really weird walking along it after all these years.  The last time I walked along the Berlin Wall was 1987.  At that time, I believed the Wall wouldn't fall in my life time.  The jubilant scenes of East Berliners tearing down the Wall came just 28 months after my 1987 visit.
A surviving East German watch tour.  Their job was to make sure no East Germans tried to escape.

The three books I read by Klaus Kordon are centred on a single family who live in Ackerstrasse number 37 during the period 1918-1945.  I had it in mind to visit the address and see what it looked like.  From one old grave, we found that number 37 has been a cemetery since at least 1941....!

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