The Fall of the Berlin Wall: Susanne’s Story
This story begins long before this interview was shot and these photographs were taken. It begins when my mother met a friend to which she invited over for dinners. In my community college days while living at my parents she would tell us and then turning to me, of her time in Eastern Europe. Curiously I probed for more information until well, we landed at this article.
This only sheds light on one story and one perspective of the many out there.
Yet, before we begin here is a little bit of background info that could help…
On to the video!
This short four minute video only encapsulates the very basics of Susanne’s story and the history she’s lived through.
Therefore, I thought I’d include some information beyond what was seen and heard in video above. Specifically allocated from the interview itself.
Q: What are the differences you saw between before the wall came down and after?
A: In terms of people you mean?
Q: People, living styles…
A: Well you could tell the split between the older generation, the people building the country ground up after the war. They were completely disappointed in the politics. I mean they were- like my grandma for instance- were devastated when came to light how the government basically betrayed the people. Some of them became very resentful, angry, and bitter. Most of them are still bitter to this day. There is a wall still in the minds of their heads.
A: Then, there is my generation, some of them are bitter as well. Life was better then. They measure their worth on what they have achieved versus what they have experienced.
Susanne and I also spoke more about the last bit regarding her co-worker wearing the headphones. She explained why it was so controversial at the time and why to her, it signaled the end of East Berlin.
She even spoke of the high amount of regulation that was seen within the arts and music community. Regulation even heard on the radio as ministries were specifically catered to auditing certain speech, media, or content.
“The split was 80–20. So eighty percent had to be music from East Germany and only twenty percent was allowed to be from Capitalistic countries.”
Susanne would see herself as privileged while artists and creators were the most limited.
“Any artists, I think they were the most oppressed…You couldn’t just go on stage. It had to be approved.”
Susanne, though, was very annoyed when she was denied the extension of her educational career. That was also heavily regulated.
Yet, Susanne still kept memories from the past and then was kind enough to allow me to see some of the documents that she’s kept around since her youth.
The documents showcased above were part of the Thählmann Pioneers Program. This program was specifically targeted towards East German Youth ranging from the 5th to 8th grade. This program included certain uniforms, and a paper document that included markings to measure success i.e. stamps, stickers, and so forth. You can see the image of Thählmann above.
Susanne also kept other relics such as the magazines that were solely dedicated to the fall of the Berlin Wall.
These magazines showcased the understanding at the time of the magnitude of the event as it occurred. Multiple photos brace these magazines.
All showing the nuances of history as it unfolds.