Maurice Frank

Writing on the Wall

Ten minutes’ walk from my flat, an iron bridge, Bösebrücke, spans the railway tracks that once divided East and West Berlin. One of the few checkpoints in the Berlin Wall used to stand in the middle of the bridge. On the approach, a discreet memorial shows black-and-white photographs from thirty years ago. On 9 November 1989, border guards of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) yielded to throngs of East Berliners and the crossing was opened to the jubilant masses. Free travel was permitted for the first time since 1961. The GDR’s strategy of jailing its own citizens had finally proved a failure. In under a year, the Soviet satellite state had merged with the Federal Republic and vanished forever.

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