By Jay D. Balnig
When visiting Germany, do not forget to visit places and structures that shaped its history such as the division of Germany during 1961-1989. One of these structures is the Berlin Wall or Berliner Mauer.
In 1949 after World War II when dictator Adolf Hitler was defeated, Allied forces comprising the United States, Great Britain and France, colonized Germany. This led to the division of Germany in two. One side is communist East Germany which is under the governance of the German Democratic Republic created by the Soviet Union. Another side is the democratic West Germany under the governance of the Allied forces.
Because of severe poverty and poor governance in East Germany, many Germans wanted to transfer to West Germany where residents enjoy an abundant life. So, the GDR built the Berlin Wall in the middle of the night of August 13, 1961.
Unlike the other famous Great Wall of China which is high and made of stone, the Berlin Wall was an ordinary structure made of French Barrier, albeit high. It was surrounded by over 155 kilometers of barbed wire with an electric signal current and guarded by 11,000 soldiers. There had been many attempts to cross the wall and this resulted to hundreds of deaths.
On November 9, 1989, it was dismantled because of a deal between US President Ronald Reagan and USSR Leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
You can now still a small portion of the wall in Topography of Terror Museum in Niederkirchnerstrabe, Berlin Wall Memorial and Documentation Center in Bernauer Strabe in Berlin City. One can see the rest on postcards and books.
You can also see the famous Check Point Charlie of the Allied Forces in Markgrafenstrabe in the entrance of the border in the middle of East and West side of Berlin.
Meanwhile, did you know that Europe is very strict with regards to the memorabilia that are linked to the Nazi and their leader, Adolf Hitler? This is because they protested Hitler’s rule after he ordered the killing of millions of Jews. Having these memorabilia going around is akin to justifying war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Germans themselves do not want anything to remind them of Hitler’s rule, not even to mention the name ‘Adolf Hitler’ to tourists.