Berlin suburbs cross lines of history


Walking down a long street of the former East Berlin territory one goes past shops and buildings that are now part of the West Berlin, and this has been the situation since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.


A unified Berlin.


It was not always.


August 23, 2015, Berlin: Exiting the train station at Jannowitzbrücke, one of Berlin's inner city suburbs, lets a person walk straight into previously controlled East Berlin territory.


There are posters of current themes and shows, concerts in Berlin. There are pubs, shops, cars, apartment buildings. The buildings, though, are different. They have a different style of architecture, often with stripes down the side of them in blue, or other colours.


A person stops at a street corner with a bicycle and answers the question regarding authenticity of architecture, 'Yes', he says, 'That is authentic East German architecture there.. ' (pointing to one of the apartment blocks).


A bit further down people sit outside a cafe. They are doing what others do this weekend, shop, bicycle, go to their local cafe and it is now 2015, but once residents in this area were locked into this territory and could not escape. The interior of the cafe today, though, is like any other in Berlin, with newspapers on a rack by the door, such as Berliner Kurier and others. Most of the cafe visitors today appear to be speaking German.


Once though, this was a Soviet-controlled area and many people may have spoken Russian. Many did have families and many russian people were once here, says one German resident asked about this. 'Yes, they would probably have Russian families here now, descendants ..' of the previous generations.


It is modern Berlin now. Integrated. A line of dark green trees sits in front of what were once beige and grey buildings but now have colorful stripes.


Jannowitzbrücke is not so far by trains to tourist sites such as Stadtmitte's 'Checkpoint Charlie', where every day throngs of tourists are to be found, where the well-known US Army sign is displayed with its famous 'You are leaving the American Sector' (printed by the US Army and displayed in English, Russian, French and German), which stood in the years after 1961 to tell the world that this was a border crossing from West to East, from German democratically-run West Germany, to Soviet-run East Germany. Elsewhere, there is the DDR musuem in Friedrichstrasse, and many other places in Berlin to buy and see history of the former East Germany, but in Jannowitzbrücke it is possible to see the real physical territory of the previous suburb, to walk on the footpaths, and then to go see the previous East Berlin wall itself.


Some images of what is now modern day, yet previously East, Berlin.


Katrina Wood/






Galerie 2

Jannowitzbrücke 2015.

Once East Berlin territory.




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