The other view

The early Berlin Wall

Germany commemorated the 50th anniversary of the construction of the Berlin Wall in August 2011. This exhibition presented a collection of yet unreleased photos of its early construction phase from the perspective of East Berlin. It included numerous views of 43.7 km of the inner-city wall, taken by the Berlin-Mitte border patrol in 1965/66. The photo documentation comprised approx. 1,500 individual photos of deserted border fortifications, which included the walls of residential buildings, chain-link fences and ruins with views of the Allied sectors in the background. Classified as top-secret in the GDR, the photos were arranged by the photographer Arwed Messmer into panoramic views and given captions by the writer Annett Gröschner, who referred to occurrences at the sites noted in the border regimental files. The exhibition was designed to allow visitors to walk the entire length of the former wall and experience Berlin as never before. Visitors were able to use GPS data and street names to compare the current structural situation with images of the area where the Berlin Wall once stood. An accompanying programme, organized in cooperation with the Literaturforum at the Brechthaus Berlin, highlighted artists and scientists like Uwe Johnson, Olaf Briese and Einar Schleef, who had intensively incorporated the construction of the Berlin Wall into their works. Following its presentation in Berlin, the exhibition went on tour to France and Poland.

Artistic directors: Annett Gröschner, Arwed Messmer
Guest curator: Florian Ebner


Messmer Gröschner GbR

Danziger Straße 22

10435 Berlin (external link, opens in a new window)