16. Nov.

10:00 presentation of the program, organisational points Expectations/ misgivings/wishes from the participants finding an agreement on how to treat each other personal approach to the topic: biographical and experiences in political educational work

12:00 lecture and discussion about Berlin as a separated town: history of the cold war with a focus on Berlin

14:30-19:00 Experiences of borders in Berlin: a rallye through town in small groups who are visiting different places of remembrance: f.E. East-Side-Gallery, Checkpoint Charly, “Tränenpalast” (palace of tears), exhibition about the “Geisterbahnhöfe” (train stations of ghosts)

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14 thoughts on “16. Nov.

  1. As next week is International Solidarity Week, I would like to bring up an exhibit item at Tränenpalast that showed civil rights activists in DDR during the 1980s. I am impressed that German unsubordinate individuals had powerful models from abroad such as Charter 77 and Solidarnosc and that they decided to protest and resist the system in a peaceful, nonviolent way (“Swords to Ploughshares”).

  2. This day of the Wall lead us to the backyards of Berlin history: the Bornholmer straße bridge, the Lifting memorial, the ex-invaliden-cemetery. Their lack of light and present reality may put us reflecting on the voluntary visibility of each landmark of memory – and the darkness of these landmarks relay put them backyards, familiar but forgotten. Besides, the building and fall of the walls allow us to revisit ancient and present walls: in Europe the internal blocs tend to be eliminated, but the frontiers are put a little bit forward, constantly inventing different worlds needing new wall between them (as the “fortress Europe” against African immigrants). When shall we learn wall are not needed?

  3. So today during our tour through the city of Berlin we got to visit places connected with history of Berlin Wall. History that hopefully will not repeat itself as long as we remember about the tragedy of all the people who were unlucky to live on the wrong side of the city. History that shows, that as long as in our minds, and in the minds of the authorities, exist the division into “them” and “us”, there is a danger of separation and tragedy that fallows.

  4. The first day of “feeling” Berlin ( and I don’t mean just feeling the cold) was a quite impressive one as I entered for the first time in contact with a part of The Berlin wall; a very powerful symbol that is quite present into people’s memories. This made me realize that for some people even though the wall collapsed, they continue to exist due to the impact that had upon people.

  5. Sometimes we remeber things that we never lived, through shared memory – imagery, common narratives, integrated discourses. Today i was struck by my non falling in love at the first sight with Berlin. I was overwhelmed by the lights hiding the buildings in Alexandeprlatz and the agressive ever growing capitalistic character of that area.
    Being an espectator to the kurdish demonstration brought to the mind other walls: http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/15053/solidarity-with-nusaybin-mayor-ayse-gokkann.
    Solidarity with all the un-builders.

  6. the end of the 1st day and we already debate about the role of memorial sites in the city and in the public space, we already wonder if they should or should not impose respect, if they should or should not be playful, useful, educative, empty, touristic, aesthetic, critical, impressive, emotional, in your face or subtle…
    i guess the question is indeed what one wants from memorial sites in the public space and for whom?

  7. It’s still overwhelming for me to be in a place such as Berlin where almost every square meter has a public historical significance and usually a polemic concerning the way it should be presented or “exploited” and about how one is expected to react to the “industry” of memorial places, just as Ioana mentioned.

  8. Today we visited less popular, less touristic memorials of Cold War. We could discover by ourself the newest Berlin history. The Berlin Wall was a pretext for discussion about still exisiting in our world walls-borders. Unfortunately in a lot of countries can find the walls separating people. But the example of Berlin show us that is possible to destroy every wall, every border.

  9. On the riverside of the East Side Gallery close to Oberbaumbrücke, there are photographies of the Walls which still exisit in other parts of the World, while the other side of the Gallery has paintings from 1990 as well as “comments” left by visitors ever since. Yes. The remains of the Berlin Wall is a reminder of what happened as well as what still needs to happen. The touristic hot spot of Checkpoint Charlie too serves its function as a reminder regardless of its commercialisation. After a long day filled with discussions about East-West-Conflict in European context, however, what accompanied me on my ride home was the thought that the invisible wall would always be there as long as the discourse of East and West goes. I wonder whether it would be helpful for the world to remember that the earth is round, that East, West, South and North are constructed by people and so are the conflicts.

  10. This day allowed me to contact for the first time with Berlin. I’ve discovered that it is a city with many layers of history. You can choose to surf and addopt a more turistical approach or you can choose to go deeper and even dive in the several cultural and historical possibilities. Looking forward for the next days.

  11. The Biographer

    My dream about aliens and Jesus in Berlin

    I made the effort to remember my dream from the first night spent in Kubiz, where I woke up everyone in the dormitory by crying out loud religious things – by crying the name of Jesus and some other words, now impossible to recall. This is what I now know:

    I think it starts with a memory from long time ago– the stone walls of a catholic church in Iasi, Romania, the city where I was born. My mother is of polish origin – and my grandmother would take me to that catholic church each Sunday. We would stay in the exact same spot, around the middle of the isle of benches, just a tiny bit behind one of the stone pillars of the building.

    Somehow, I developed a fantasy that used to accompany every Our Father prayer. I used to think that right after the verse “deliver us from evil”, the evil itself – in a particularly gothic devilish form – had a minute fraction of a moment to show its figure from behind that pillar, slightly to my left. So between the ages of two and four and a half (this is when we left Iasi to live in Bucharest) each Sunday at more or less the exact same hour I would have the exact same tiny amount of existential fear.

    I was baptized in that church, in a hidden manner. In Romania it was not illegal to perform baptisms but these were not the best regarded actions for the babies of top Party members – and my father at that time was such a person. He was also not religious, and my mother was divorcing him, therefore my baptism, just like in romantic novels, had to be secretive and improvised.

    My dream in Berlin had the scenery of such grey stone walls, although without the exact church topography. They looked more like office, big building walls in a post-apocalyptic environment somehow reminiscent of the scenery in JG Ballard’s novel The Drowned World. The air was silvery and, as much as i can recall, it glittered.

    I was followed by a group of angel-shaped aliens – white-silvery humanoid butterflies figures, bigger than human scale. My path was through the half demolished remains of some urban lagoon, my feet heavy from the mud that made any step eternal.

    This takes me back to my absolutely unreasonable belief of having dreamt my death, a few years ago. I was just starting to get involved in LGBT activist work and I felt deeply afraid to speak, tell my stories from the early 90s and assist or support others, as the Romanian social context is profoundly permeated by various kinds of discrimination but none more generalized than homophobia. Yet I kept on doing what I needed to do, and I became unaware of the fear. Still, one night the minute existential horror of hyper-realistic knowledge hit me, as I dreamt of being chased off by an angry mob from a cliff, and thrown into the ocean. My body felt the breaking on the rocks, and somehow the quietness of the deep water afterwards.

    Two nights ago, this classical dream of the chase reappeared. I was running without moving, and the silvery butterflies were catching up, feeding on my weakness. I had the distinct feeling of being four and afraid in the old church, and cried loudly, in Romanian. I woke up in a quiet uncharted geography, with the breathing of five almost strangers around me. And I felt ashamed.

  12. From: adrianolaru

    First day of our training course… long, but veeery interesting! The rallye trough the town was a exciting experience, my first contact with Berlin and some of it’s places of remembrance. Those left me a bad feeling about the communist era, but Berlin by night is a impressive town!

  13. From: calinzborovsky

    Brandenburg Gate is an impressive place by itself, but seeing a meeting there made the experience even more interesting.

  14. A quote by Walter Benjamin about recollection

    “He who has once begun to open the fan of memory never comes to the end of its segments; no image satisfies him, for he has seen that it can be unfolded, and only in its folds does the truth reside”

    W. Benjamin, Berliner Chronik, Frankfurt 1974

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