School magazine "Goethicus", Goethe-Gymnasium in Ludwigsburg, december 1981 edition

"Wall inscriptions"

by Michael von Aichberger

The 13th of August 1981 was the twentieth anniversary of the construction of the Berlin Wall.

Berlin, 13th of August 1961

East Germany is shut up. From one day to the next, Berlin is torn apart by a wall. Many people consider this as the GDR's declaration of bankruptcy. Back then, nobody believed that such an impossibility would last.

Berlin today

The wall still exists, even higher and more invincible. And: In addition to the wall made of concrete, an intellectual wall has been developed as well.

A tourist from West Germany arrives, looks at the wall and takes a picture of it, not even asking himself who or what is there on the other side. After twenty years of East German separation, even Mallorca seems to be closer.

On the other side of the wall, a good GDR citizen knows that the "anti-Fascist safety bulwark" (that is the official GDR-term) protects the "socialist Fatherland" against imperialist influences. It took twenty years to drum that "knowledge" into him.

Fortunately, there are still Germans on either side who did not bury their feelings of solidarity yet.

In West Germany, punching the wall would be useless. Trying to do the same thing in East Germany would be suicide.

Getting rid of the intellectual wall is a start. The other one will then fall down as well. Someday.

Until that day, it will be the "Wailing Wall of the 20th century" (wall inscription).

The grey concrete wall has already challenged a lot of poets and thinkers. The wall is not only a simple concrete block any more. Scores of scribbles and inscriptions, some of them poor, some of them deep, "adorn" the westbound side of the wall...

The reproductions on the following pages are the first part of our wall documentation. They are all taken from a section of the wall, about 10 kilometers long, situated in the West-Berlin boroughs of Wedding and Kreuzberg.