Join us for our monthly Stammtisch at Café Daddy (Kolonnenstrasse 50) with a very special presentation: Carolyn Loeb, whose field is the history of art and architecture, will be discussing the conclusions she’s reached about how the Berlin Wall Memorial, although in many ways a success, “replicates a Cold War perspective….” Here is Carolyn’s personal invitation to all AVAers and their friends: “Since 1999, I’ve been visiting and documenting the site where the Wall ran along Bernauer Strasse. Originally, I was interested in how Wall zone spaces outside the city center were being reconfigured architecturally and spatially to knit together formerly separated neighborhoods. Once work began on the official Memorial to the Berlin Wall at Bernauer Strasse, I followed its development. In addition to analyzing what it preserves and how it represents the history of the Wall, I explored the neighborhood context of the site, since one of the purposes of the Memorial is to provide insight into the Wall’s impact on the structure of the city.
At the September AVA meeting, I’m looking forward to discussing the conclusions I’ve reached about how the Memorial ignores significant aspects of the history within which the Wall was embedded. Although in many ways the Memorial is admirable and a success, in other ways it replicates a Cold War perspective on the Wall. It does this in two ways: on the one hand, the more complex history of the division of the city (here, in relation to the neighborhood of Rosenthaler Vorstadt) that had begun in the late 1940s is absent; and on the other hand, and not unrelated to this, there is no attempt to represent a wider view of the GDR. We are led to continue to see the Wall as a face-off between two regimes, rather than considering the daily lives of people living on each side of it; the differences between them were shaped not only by the Wall, but by different (and varied) ideals and projects. Ignoring this has meant that East Berliners, especially, are not really represented in this Memorial.
What are your thoughts about this Memorial? I hope that we can have a discussion about it that draws on the experiences and ideas of folks who lived in Berlin during the period of division.”