The magnificent East Side Gallery

The East Side Gallery is a display of beauty which prevailed from hate. It’s a symbol of resilience and euphoria. Graffiti murals are painted along the 1316m long remnant of the wall which once divided East and West Berlin. The artwork is so powerful it tells a thousand stories that you can’t help but feel moved by.

The wall was built to restrict emigration and movement by the communist government the German Democratic Republic. The concrete giant stood for an astonishing 28 years! On November 9, 1989 a spokesman for East Berlin’s Communist Party announced that they were changing their policy with the West, which meant citizens were free to cross the border.

In 1990 artists began to paint on the remaining wall. Below you can see the photos I took when I visited.

One of the most famous paintings on the wall was of Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker kissing painted by Dmitri Vrubel. The writing below says: “My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love.”

The graffiti shows a socialist fraternal kiss which was special greeting between the statesmen of Communist countries. Not all statesmen kissed on lips, so this displays that their relationship was special. Honecker, the German General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party, and Brezhnev led the Soviet Union from 1964 until 1982.

The fact their kiss appears on the wall almost seems as if it is used a humiliation symbol because it is so out there.

Another favourite of mine is the Trabi, a traditional East German car and a symbol of the East, breaking through the sky blue wall. Production of the Trabi, short for Trabant, began four years before the Berlin Wall was built and was discontinued a year after it fell. It was poorly built, was never improved upon, and took a decade for the average East German to acquire, but it quickly became the most common car in the Communist East. It’s not hard to see why it became so symbolic, and it makes the artwork by Birgit Kinder even more poignant.  

I can’t conclude without mentioning another section I found moving.  This disturbingly haunting slice of the wall is called It’s Happened In November by Kani Alvi. The artwork shows thousands of East German faces flocking to the West through infamous Checkpoint Charlie. Each face captures a different emotion. This encapsulation of real human feeling, makes this piece completely powerful. 

If you want to get an accurate reflection of the feelings towards the Berlin Wall, I recommend visiting this magnificent gallery. The murals are timeless masterpieces which serves as a constant reminder of Berlin’s past. All 105 paintings tell a different part of the story. This was an experience I won’t forget. 

Here you can see more photos (which include the cute animals at Berlin Zoo) and you can read about my time at the Topography of Terrors.

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