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The Lost Border: Photographs of the Iron Curtain
December 6, 2007 2:18 PM   Subscribe


 
A great album: thanks for this.
posted by mdonley at 2:49 PM on December 6, 2007


Good stuff. It's amazing that it's been 18 years -- a la the Beloit Mindset List, Germans becoming adults today have had no wall in their lives at all. The foreboding permanence was an illusion, given how quickly it all disappeared.
posted by dhartung at 2:50 PM on December 6, 2007


Very nice—thanks!
posted by languagehat at 3:02 PM on December 6, 2007


Awesome Awesome Awesome!!
posted by BobFrapples at 3:05 PM on December 6, 2007


Great. I was in Germany in May. Places like Checkpoint Charlie and Potsdamer Plotz were teeming with life, it was hard for me to ever imagine that these were sites where a global conflict came to a head every day.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 3:18 PM on December 6, 2007


A great find. Best thing I've seen on Metafilter in ages. Thank you for this.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 3:18 PM on December 6, 2007


Wow. It is absolutely amazing to see the difference between Potsdamer Platz then and now.

This picture reminds me of an experience I had in late 1995 Berlin. It was still kinda wild there. We were in Friedrichshain walking down Karl Marx Alle (I think) and a really small piece of shit car, maybe a Trabant, came swerving down the street. It careened into the median in the middle of the road and came to a halt. 2 guys, unscathed and laughing, got out, flipped the car over and set it on fire. Within a minute the thing was in flames.

And nobody gave a fuck. It was awesome.

We were on our way to a bar which was actually an abandoned apartment still replete with the former occupants typical East-German furniture and decorations. It was a pretty surreal experience for a 19 year old kid from Missouri.

I fell in love with Berlin that night.
posted by chillmost at 3:32 PM on December 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


Fantastic post. Having never visited Germany before the wall came down, it's really wild to see...
posted by rollbiz at 3:45 PM on December 6, 2007


Having never visited Germany before the wall came down, it's really wild to see...

Having visited Germany several times before the wall came down, and having spent time in both West Germany and East, it's still wild to see, and, well, nostalgic.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:12 PM on December 6, 2007


Wow, thanks very much for this. I, too, never went to Germany before the wall came down, though I was in Berlin a couple of years ago. It's weird, now, to think that it was ever like that.
posted by malthas at 4:22 PM on December 6, 2007


Definitely recommend buying the book.
posted by jedro at 4:26 PM on December 6, 2007


great stuff - i'm actually nostalgic for the wall - what a bizarre thing to say, but it's a bit like reaching for the hole in your mouth where the rotten tooth used to be. perhaps mentally i have a line still going down half of europe in my mind somewhere.

(obviously i'm not advocating some return to the cold war or anything).
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:56 PM on December 6, 2007


This brings back tons of memories - I lived in Berlin during the height of the cold war. I have some pictures here and here (there's some duplication, obviously). I can't imagine Berlin now- it's clear that the city I knew (and loved) is gone.

That said, Berlin is still a great city, a marvelous place, and I don't think all the political changes in the world would change that. Still, there was something special about being 'inside the wall': The interminable scrutiny by the East German Grenztruppen crossing over to the East at Checkpoint Charlie; the stands built along the wall on the Western side to look over the wall (and allow families -separated by the wall- to at least see and wave to one another); playing bumper cars with Russian troops (all of us in uniform, amis, brits & the russians) at a carnival in East Berlin; the fireworks on New Years - a very special time, the people inside West Berlin went nuts- it was an *unbelievable* sight to see from Teufelsburg at midnight as the entire city erupted in fireworks and church bells- almost a deliberate thumbing of our noses at the East.

I could go on and on - about mauerkrankheit- the wall sickness; the duty trains in and out of Berlin, finding abandoned flak towers from WW II , finding a picture in the library of Hitler inspecting a squad of SS troops in my very barracks room; chasing an unrequited love out on Peacock Island; it's all there and a very special place in my memory. I'd love to go back someday.
posted by pjern at 5:58 PM on December 6, 2007 [12 favorites]


Fantastic comment, solopsist, and flagged as such.

(I'd give a semi important limb or digit to have a big print of the second picture of Kaiser Wilhelm church in the flash gallery you linked...Or your first Burger King pic in that set...What cool shots!)
posted by rollbiz at 6:43 PM on December 6, 2007


Good stuff. It's amazing that it's been 18 years -- a la the Beloit Mindset List, Germans becoming adults today have had no wall in their lives at all. The foreboding permanence was an illusion, given how quickly it all disappeared.
posted by dhartung at 4:50 PM on December 6 [+] [!]


huh... first time I've run across my alma mater mentioned on the blue.

Tom McBride is one man you can never win an argument against (ie... convince him if he has a contrary opinion.).

that being said.

Listening to NPRs description of the wall coming down is one of the few moments from my childhood that I remember with distinct clarity
posted by Sam.Burdick at 8:51 PM on December 6, 2007


This is fantastic. Thanks.
posted by sellout at 11:01 PM on December 6, 2007


Oh, yes inded, solopsist, thanks so much for linking to your photosets at flickr. They're fantastic!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:59 AM on December 7, 2007


Thanks, flapjax at midnite. There are more pictures, this might help motivate me to digitize the rest of them.
posted by pjern at 3:00 AM on December 7, 2007


Please do Solopsist. They are great pics.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 3:41 AM on December 7, 2007


I've sorted through about 500 more negatives, and found another 25 or so that are good fits...I've put them up on Flickr here (I've rearranged the sets and removed the non-pertinent photos ). I've also fleshed out the descriptions a bit.
posted by pjern at 3:41 AM on December 14, 2007


Wonderful, solopsist. The captions are really good, too. Thanks!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:46 AM on December 14, 2007


Thanks from me too. Gives me a real sense of what Berlin was like back then.
posted by languagehat at 7:50 AM on December 14, 2007


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