The Art of Division

Our time in Berlin was spent talking about the end of the war and retribution for the Nazis. We also discussed what happened to the city and the country after 1945. You cannot spend any time in Berlin without facing the reality that it was a divided city for almost fifty years. There are pieces of the infamous Berlin Wall looming over many areas in the city, and even the walk signs give an indication of what side of Berlin you are in.

One of the places where the East-West divide is still evident is at the East Side Gallery. This street art exhibit features large murals painted on a remaining section of the wall. This display showed many beautiful paintings, often depicting how the fall of the Berlin Wall freed the German people.

The most intriguing thing about this exhibit was the difference between the East and West sides of the wall. On the West side there are beautiful murals, skyscrapers, and a busy train station. On the East side there is graffiti, dead grass, the river and old factories. This s divide was shocking to see in the Berlin of 2019.

I think that this just goes to show the lasting effects of war on a people and a country. Even thirty years after the reunification, Germany is still fraught with a difficult national history. While they have begun to come to terms with what the war and occupation meant to them and the rest of the world, there is still a lot of work that they can do to bring the two halves of Germany together.

A mural on the West side of the Berlin Wall

Another mural on the West side depicting the opening of the wall.

The East side of the Berlin Wall, covered in graffiti.

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