A stroll along the Wall, Berlin, November 19, 1989: "Mauerspecht" (Berlin Wall "woodpecker") [2/6]



November 19 1989
Berlin, near Potsdam Square
Created By: Thomas Jobst

License: Creative Commons License

"Mauerspecht" (Berlin Wall "woodpecker") at work


Berlin Wall (West), Berlin Wall woodpecker, chisel, chisel traces, hammer, man, one person


Berlin Wall woodpecker, border guard, celebration, freedom, journey, shopping, Wall hole, welcome money


Potsdamer Platz

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"As chance would have it, my wife and I were able to experience history in the making about a week after the Wall came down. We had flown to my grandmother's funeral in Hungary and taken the usual route with 'Interflug' (the East German state airline) from Berlin-Schönefeld to Budapest. The flights were booked in mid October, departing November 16 and returning November 18. No-one could have possibly foreseen what was about to happen in Germany in the meantime…

On the drive from Hamburg to Berlin and the airport, we began to encounter the first noticeable changes; we were met with cordiality at border facilities and saw crowds of people everywhere, such as outside Sparkasse banks collecting 'welcome money' and on shopping trips – everyone was enjoying their new-found freedom.

After returning on November 19, 1989 we took a little stroll along the Wall from Martin Gropius Bau to the Western side of Potsdamer Platz. There was a unique atmosphere at the Wall, it still sends shivers down my spine when I think about it today. Hammering was going on everywhere, lots of Wall 'woodpeckers' were at work. Several sat atop the round Wall coping, others were proud of the holes and gaps they’d made in the Wall – it was already possible to stick your arm through to the other side. A makeshift passage had been set up where concrete slabs of the Wall were extensively being removed. Cars drove from East to West and the other way around. There was a lonely East German border guard who must have felt superfluous as he no longer had any authority, no one stopped, and West and East Germans celebrated right alongside him with champagne and merry songs…"

Thomas Jobst (Hamburg)