|Me and two brothers in their matching East German outfits awaiting the birth of the smallest|
I remember having a mixture of feelings about this; on the one hand it was seen as a special (read: good) thing because we were The Military, but on the other it was rather scary, with men in uniforms and guns everywhere. Only now do I realise we may have been a target for people not wanting us to occupy their territory.
|Entrance to the military compound |
my school was located in
|War monuments at my school|
Of course we were taught about the atrocities of the Holocaust, accompanied by numerous trips to Concentration Camps, Hitlers Bunker, Torture Chambers, Museums and so on, and Our Glorious Victory against the Fascists was the version of history we had drilled into us. Here's another version: The Real History of World War Two.
In other classes we used military metaphor and played army practical jokes across all subjects. In Design, Craft and Technology class I made a, rather good, clock from acrylic in the shape of Berlin. A blue layer for the West, red for the East, both laid on top of a layer of black with a gap to depict the wall.
|My brother in his kit|
And we were given an exchange rate nine times that of non military Germans. So whereas most people got 1:1 West/East Deutsche Mark we got 9:1. This made our family's meagre military wage go nine times further, it made us rich to the extent that we were able to eat at the 5* Hotel at Alexanderplatz. I forget it's name but I do remember having flambeed fillet steak!
West and East
East is West
Streets that were once rather gloomy in what was East Berlin are now teaming with trendy coffee shops and shopping malls. The few remnants of the east that can still be seen are probably only still there by accident. Possibly slightly by design there are fewer McDonald's and Starbucks but only time will tell how long that will be the case.
For a more political analysis see Berlin: the wall that came down and walls that went up.
No doubt my friends will tell you Ich Liebe Berlin; living there with the wall up was the most educational experience I've ever had. I don't hark back to the days of a disunited country but I will fight on for a society free from oppression and inequality.
Whilst the diving wall remains in Palestine no one will be free and equal. As they say in German Der Letzte Schlag Gewinnen Wir (we will win the last battle).
(Awaiting a fab picture of my brothers in their Popova Pj's from Mum!)