What were you doing 20 years ago when the Berlin Wall fell? Personally, I was attending a state college, preoccupied with grades and my personal life. I felt fascinated, but far removed, as I watched television coverage of the fall of the Wall — what would later be identified as the event that marked the end of the Cold War.
Some years later, as a young journalist, I visited a former Stasi prison as part of a cultural exchange program hosted by the RIAS Berlin Commission. Hearing first-hand stories and being in the places I had only read about had an effect on me that’s difficult to describe. The enormity of the change that had taken place began to dawn on me in a new way.
Anniversaries are an opportunity to pause and reflect, and 20 years on, there’s no lack of commentators weighing in on the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. You can read commentary from public radio luminaries like Daniel Schorr and Andrei Codrescu to former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev himself.
As for us, we’ll look back on history with some Northwesterners who were in Germany and Eastern Europe at the time the Wall came down. And we’d like to get your take too.
Where were you when the Berlin wall fell? Did you live in East or West Berlin or a former Soviet bloc country? How is your life different today after the dissolution of the Berlin wall and the Soviet Union?
- Alexander Lungershausen: Architect at THA Architecture
- Verena Winter: Waste water engineer with HDR Engineering
- Miriam Widman: Freelance journalist
- Edgar Loesch: Owner of Fressen Artisan Bakery, a German bakery in Portland