Living history: Fall of the Wall 1989

As I saw the pictures of the Wall falling on TV, I knew immediately: I have to be there. I wanted to live this historical moment. There are only a few chances to do that in a lifetime, and this was a particularly good instance. For more than 28 years the Wall had divided Germany into two parts, separating countless families and friends.

Many people from Eastern Germany lost their lives as they tried to overcome the Wall.


When joy turns into melancholy

On my arrival in Berlin shortly after the 9th of November 1989, I immediately felt this incredible mood that was embracing the city: happy faces everywhere, people talking with me, sharing their joy. I was in the middle of the biggest and longest after party ever. But melancholy was steadily taking over because almost everybody was somehow aware that the party was over, and what the next morning would bring was uncertain.
Welcome for 'Ossies' in united Germany at Invalidenstrasse.


Photographing for a better understanding

On my trip to Berlin I had been afraid of arriving too late. – Actually, the timing was perfect for photographing. Looking at the pictures I took 25 years ago, I am seeing the ambiguity of what I captured much more clearly. Photographing can be a way to understand what we see and feel.


The wide angle

I used my nearly new Nikkor 24mm f/2 for most pictures. The inspiration for that was evident, since I had directed a TV feature on William Klein, a grand master of wide angle photography. Nevertheless, it was a right choice for the situation I found in Berlin. With a wide angle lens you emphasize: either you are very close, in the middle of what is happening – or you put a real distance into your picture.

Swiss newspaper 'Der Bund' dedicated a full page to my Berlin photographs in late 1989.
There was still no access to the symbolic Brandenburger Tor. View from East Berlin.


Album: Berlin 1989 - Fall of the Wall
Surprise me
Overview