these are the posts tagged ‘cold war’:

walking on history, VII: escape tunnels

thirty nine tunnels were dug under the berlin wall, through which over 250 people escaped to the west – and almost as many were arrested by the stasi. many tunnels ended up never being used.

this one on bernauer straße was dug by hasso herschel, who helped smuggle over 1000 people to the west through tunnels, modified cars or airport exchanges.

more on this series.

walking on history, VI: the wall

on july 1963, herr günter climbed over the wall near a construction site, when a truck was blocking the view from the guards. bernauer straße is filled with these small memorials to the people who fled from east to west – or died trying.

more on this series.

stasi museum

we visited the stasi musem (and former headquarters) some months ago, after reading some reviews here and there – and especially after having watched the lives of others. in my mind, stasi is synonym with suspicion and the kind of dread that comes with not knowing who your real friends are… what would there be in a museum dedicated to an agency that inspired so much terror?
the museum tells the story of the ministry for state security from their origins till the day their headquarters were invaded by the people of berlin, in order to stop the destruction of secret files that was happening inside.

it profiles numerous victims that were imprisoned during the DDR and shows the tactics and cunning tricks used to spy on the population, as well as the propaganda methods of the time.
it also has some interesting architectural components: there’s a motionless paternoster, and some of the offices and rooms inside were kept intact, including the office of former stasi chef erich mielke. it’s bare, leaving it up to your imagination to place the characters of the story.
it’s a pity that not everything is translated into english yet, but nevertheless, what you can grasp is enough to induce a sense of unease that comes from knowing that the events described all around you took place here, not that long ago. lest we forget.

Stasimuseum Berlin
Ruschestraße 103, Haus 1
10365 Berlin

six movies to see and understand berlin a little bit better

we’re slowly working our way through a big “berlin movie list”, discovering a number of movies that portrait berlin in its different eras. they set the atmosphere to the places we visit and the books we read. we recognise the streets and sidewalks, the façades, the monuments, and even the everyday objects that we now see elevated to relics in flea markets across town… it’s quite magical.

in ljubljana we were lucky to find to so gadi, which takes place in the same houses we lived in. but in berlin, it feels like the whole city is a movie set.

any movies you’d like to recommend?