Exactly twenty-nine years ago my parents crossed the border from East to West Berlin. I clearly remember entering West Berlin. It felt as if we had embarked on a new world adventure. The city was full of life and prosperity. Freedom was in the air. On the west side of the Berlin Wall were special platforms where you could climb up and look over the wall. It was a surreal experience for someone who had spent his childhood living behind the red curtain.
We were there quite late at night. If you looked left you could see the lights of a vibrant city, music, laughter and noise – lots of it – but the sounds were not annoying, not at all.
If you looked right you saw this unsettling darkness broken by lights on ghostly and menacing towers which found any lost souls who were brave enough to escape. Then there was this silence. It was the silence you fear in a horror movie when the music pauses and you know the scary bit is coming. I will never forget this stark contrast between two worlds separated by the Berlin Wall.
Visiting Berlin and its historic sites revived my childhood memories of living in communist Poland, the implementation of Marshall Law, the Solidarity movement and all the tragedies and horrors of that time. The visit to the Berlin Wall Memorial was especially striking, as the stories of people trying to escape hit me very hard.
Today as I write this I have difficulty believing that just a few months after my visit in 1989, the Berlin Wall collapsed.
Let me share with you some imagery I took during this emotional visit to Berlin with the X100F.
When in Berlin you must visit the extraordinary and powerful Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. The simplicity of design and the symbolism of this memorial site touched me deeply. It was one of those rare moments when I raised my camera and felt…deep down inside…my emotions and my seeing as one.
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