illustrations: Sophia Halamoda.
The history of the German division and the Berlin Wall is – to put it mildly – a rather complicated one. Especially since even today, 30 years later, it still feels the country has not completely recovered from it. I was only 7 when the wall came down so I feel my memory of life in the East is pretty much seen through the eyes of a child. I don’t remember life for my family being bad in any way, we were quite happy actually. There were a lot of things we didn’t have – but also we didn’t know about them, so we didn’t miss them.
But once the two German countries re-united, it did feel like something exciting and good was happening – at first. It took us all a while to understand what was really going on. On the surface, we were re-uniting but underneath it was more of a take-over. I don’t mean it in a hostile way, and I’m not blaming either side for what had happened. It is, as I said before, more complicated than that. But in the few decades, those two parts of Germany developed so differently under such different circumstances, that throwing them together again like that was just going to cause some collateral damage. If you only look at the election results or statistics such as unemployment rates you will see a country that is maybe not as united as it should be.
I always like to say the East Germans were fucked twice. Once when they got cut off from the rest of the country and had to submit to the Soviet Regime and Socialism, and again when they were thrown back into the capitalist shark tank of the Western world. Having grown up in both worlds I feel a bit like a medium between East and West Germans. I’m not bitter towards either side, but I get the frustrations and prejudice from both of them.
On a happier note: That damn wall has been down for 30 years now! Well, that anniversary is actually on the 9th of November, but today is the day of the reunification of Germany (that happened in 1990) which – all challenges and disappointments aside – is, of course, a good thing.
To make the complicated history of the Berlin Wall a little easier to understand for German history novices our long-term collaborator Sophia Halamoda – responsible for the iconic Berghain comic – has drawn a big comic poster summarizing some of the most significant facts and events about the wall. In typical Halamoda fashion, the comic will not shy away from adding a sense of humor into a serious topic.
This comic will also be part of the brand new book that Sophia and we from iHeartBerlin are going to publish this November. It’s called “Like A Berliner” and will deconstruct all aspects of life in Berlin in the shape of comics, stories, and guides. I’m not making any false promises when I say that this is going to be the most curious and funny Berlin book ever made! Something to look forward to for any Berlin and iHeartBerlin fan 😉
Click on the image to see the comic in its full glory.