One of the great things about researching my novel, The Puzzle People, was that I could go to Youtube and see videos taken of the Berlin Wall as it went up in 1961 and then came down in 1989. In fact, whenever I sat down to work on the novel, many times I would first turn to one particular inspiring video, which covers the entire history of the Wall in a little under 8 minutes. Check it out.
During the first 1 minute and 50 seconds you’ll hear intro music and read stark statistics about the length of the Wall, the number of watchtowers, the length of other fencing, etc. But then the lyrics begin and so do the images. The song you hear, “Wind of Change,” is by the Scorpions, and it became an anthem for the Berlin Wall. I even heard it playing in an episode of the spy show, Chuck, when there was a flashback to the Berlin Wall.
About 2 minutes into this video, you’ll see some incredible footage:
- You’ll see the construction of the Wall in 1961.
- You’ll see a man jumping from a window into a net along Bernauer Strasse. On this street, the buildings were in East Berlin, but the street in front was in West Berlin, so some people leaped from windows into the West. (The buildings were soon bricked up and eventually torn down.)
- You’ll see people waving to friends and family on the other side of the Wall in the early days.
- You’ll see images of Peter Fechter, who died trying to cross the Wall in 1962.
- When the video jumps ahead to 1989, you will suddenly see an East German bureaucrat, Gunter Schabowski, as he accidentally announces the opening of travel between East and West Berlin.
- Finally, you’ll see the tens of thousands of people flock to the border on that glory night in 1989 and demand to be let into West Berlin. Then you’ll see the celebration begin as the Wall comes down.
It gave me chills just watching it. It still does.
By Doug Peterson