Mark Campbell

Berlin Graffiti

I’ve always known how despised the Berlin wall was, but I never knew the lengths people went to in order to escape its confinement. The concept that a government could institute something so widely opposed baffles the mind. I couldn’t help but respect those who fought for their freedom, whether they were successful or not. The film showed people, such as the three brothers who flew a fake Soviet plane, who risked their lives rebelling against what the wall stood for, both literally and metaphorically. In addition to people’s bold and daring escape attempts, another form of rebellion towards the wall was graffiti. Seeing such vivid, uncensored passion is what really interested me about the Berlin wall. The image above shows an example of the outcries for unity and proof of how much pain the wall caused people. It’s easy to think that the Berlin wall only affected citizens of the city, but as said in this picture it had an impact on the entire world. The entire world felt the pain of those in Berlin, which is why the entire world watched in celebration when it collapsed.

Zach Faber

The Berlin wall: The Rampart of German Oppression

I picked this image to represent the Berlin wall for the reason that the wall may have been demoralizing to many I believe this image shows the strength and spirit of the German people, and their ability to unite and rely on each other in the face of adversity. This video both amazed and disturbed me at the same time. I find it incredible that the wall only came down a few years before I was born. This really bothers me to think that these horrible things happened very recently. I find the story of these people incredibly interesting cause as an American I have never known what it's like to be oppressed and censored in the way these people have. To those who managed to escape I tip my hat off to you, you did what no one thought was possible you stood up for your beliefs in freedom and even though being would mean certain death your courage did not waver and you were able to outwit your oppressors and escape to freedom. To all those trapped in the wall I salute you as well because even though you weren't able to escape for whatever reason you still stayed strong and were able to adapt to the change in your society and in the end your patience and determination was rewarded with your freedom. As an American in today's society I might never know what it's like to have my freedom taken from me, or the incredible feeling of getting it back, but all I know is that the strength and conviction of the German people in these hard times is truly a force to be reckoned with.

Katie Brouch

I wonder what opinions were had by the literal builders of the wall. Did they have a choice in their role? What did they think while they raked the sand, raised the slabs, and installed the spotlights? Did they realize it was ordinary families just like their own they were condemning to imprisonment? Who would have agreed to build the wall given, as the documentary mentioned, that everyone understood the true purpose of the wall (keeping people in, not out)? I found two images that apply to some of my reactions and they are both quotations. One (unpictured) was by Thomas Jefferson: “When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty.” The other is by Che Guevara, a Leftist Revolutionary: “Against brute force and injustice, the people will have the last word, that of victory.” I think the bottom line is that the people inside the wall who endured and those who escaped survived their ordeals because they had something better to fight for than their oppressors did.

Kevin Sparks

    Berlin Wall

Big Brother is the totalitarian dictator in the novel, 1984. Much like the people of East Germany, they are constantly monitored and are oppressed for speaking out against the government. There is seldom a sense of safety when living in either one of these places. I believe it captures how the East Germans felt about their government.

The Berlin Wall is viewed as a scar on German history much as the Holocaust and the Third Reich was. While that can never be erased, it is important to never let something of that magnitude happen again. I thought it was incredible how there was such a small divider between such polar opposite ideologies. During the first two generations of the wall, you could simply yell to and see someone on the other side who was where you wanted to enjoying the benefits of a free democracy. I would not have been able to accept the fact that I was being oppressed while others on the other side of the fence roamed freely. The video stated that the 1st generation wall cut down the number of people leaving from 1000 to 20 per day, but I was shocked that there weren’t more trying to escape. It seemed like a last chance for people to get out before a more impenetrable wall was erected, but fear overpowered them. The Wall upset me because it was immediately following a time period in Germany when citizens feared for their lives, paranoia was rampant, and the government oppressed rights of its people. The fact that the same mistake was being made again in trying to solve the original problem is so frustrating. While there were those who were desperate enough to dig under or fly over the wall, the ones who stayed and survived are a testament to the strong will and fortitude of the East German people.

Berlin Wall

Jason Krug Berlin Wall Response

This is an image of an animal trapped in a cage. I chose this image because this is how I saw the people who lived in West Berlin as. I felt like they were animals trapped in a cage because of the wall and being oppressed by the government. And the people were unable to do anything about it.

The film on the Berlin Wall was very moving. I never knew that there were four different generations of the wall that were built with each one being more secure and deadlier than the previous one. I also had no idea about the death strip. I had never heard of the horrible and deadly contraption that was put in place to keep in the East Berlin people. What was done was terrible. The government was oppressing them, taking away their rights and so they started leaving East Berlin. Once they began to build defenses to keep them in, the government began treating the people like animals. They were caged inside their own city not allow to leave and at the same time they were being oppressed by the government. Their basic rights were taken away. They were forced to work in factories and on farms. It makes sense why these people would risk so much, risk their own lives to escape this prison. The attempts to escape to West Berlin were quite daring and clever too. For example digging a tunnel underneath the wall. Also hiding people in the trunk of a car while driving through the checkpoints unnoticed and the story of the two brothers who flew two ultralights into East Berlin to rescue the third brother. All these stories were amazing to hear how they could outsmart the oppressive government and how they risked so much just to help people escape to West Berlin. It was like a modern day underground railroad. The story of the Berlin Wall is a tragic one with many lives lost but it is also a story of many brave people who saved lives by helping them escape.

Jessica Lang

When I was in grade school I wrote a paper on the Berlin Wall and ever since then I have felt a connection to people’s stories at that time. Today’s short film brought tears to my eyes and excitement with each escape. I was extremely impressed with Wolfgang Sieler’s creativity in using a gilder and the Western government to negotiate for his family’s release from East Germany. To think that his concern was just for his family was great, but the college students in 1960 who dug the whole under the wall showed that youth has ambition and cares other than for themselves. These boys will be remembered by generation to come as the students who save 57 lives in two days. The shock of their miraculous escape from the guards without losing one of their lives seemed to be God’s grace on them. This wall created a strong rebellion among the East German’s and seeing that rebellion not used as revenge, but to save others’ lives was inspiring. That man who started as a rebellious youth made into an example saved thirty three lives that in return saved him from prison after five years of a fifteen year sentence. It is hard to even imagine what these people went through, but with their willingness to fight and die for freedom, proves that they were living a greater hell than I could ever understand. I am beyond impressed with their willingness to fight and sacrifice to save other and themselves.

Shane Kunz

Berlin Wall Response

The reason I selected a dog being trapped in a cage is because I felt like this is how the citizens in East and West Berlin felt after the Berlin Wall was formed. My reaction after viewing this movie, was I was shocked how people went to great lengths to risk their life for freedom in West Berlin. I found it very interesting how even though they saw how much their citizens hated the fact of the wall the government still continued to waste money and enforce the rules. Wouldn't you change the way your governing your country after seeing this? Everybody was trying to escape anyway they could. Either by going under, through, and over the wall. They were constantly coming up with new ways to escape from the “imprisonment”. I couldn't help but feel sorry for everyone that was stuck in the Berlin with such harsh rules and conditions. I was surprised by how creative they were when they created the wall. They tried to make it impossible to cross, but after someone would escape successfully they would alter their design by fixing that flaw. For example, when the students made the underground tunnel and after the tunnel was found, the East Berlin military made their own underground tunnels to prevent it from ever happening again. I can not believe they actually thought they would be able to keep the wall up forever. Eventually other countries and the citizens were going to revolt in such a way that it would destroy the wall. Luckily, East Berlin finally wised up and decided to open the wall so nothing worse would occur.

Alec Phillipp Berlin Wall

I chose this picture because it shows how the people of Berlin viewed the wall. Not only was the idea of building a wall around a city tyrannical and oppressive, it deemed them to an almost animalistic state. This topic is extremely interesting to me because of the fact that while it did happen, it seems almost surreal. The idea of caging in a whole town, and basically herding them and forcing them to live in a town is unimaginable. It is remarkable that no outside countries saw this as too oppressive or just out right degrading, and took action. Everybody watched as this town was slowly turned into a giant dog cage, but never did anything about it. Throughout the entirety the film, that is the one thing that was running through my mind. It made me question the integrity of the surrounding countries that were letting this happen.

Christina Drazenovic

Berlin Wall Response

I chose this picture because it shows how desperate East Berliners were to escape into the west. Conditions were so bad that people were willing to jump out of windows to achieve freedom.

I enjoyed the film, and I learned a lot from it. I didn’t know the wall was rebuilt multiple times. I always assumed it was built and stayed the same until its demolition in 1989. Every time someone started to tell their story of escaping or helping others to escape I was anxious to know if they were successful. I have immense respect for those who attempted to cross the wall. Both East and West Berliners knew the construction of the wall was wrong, and they fought against it and what it stood for. I cannot even begin to imagine the feeling of freedom experienced upon reaching West Berlin.

Bev Kangas

Berlin Wall Response

This picture of a long tunnel fits with the movie because it’s a very long, unpleasant journey, like trying to escape waiting for the Berlin Wall to be torn down. After all of the dark walking, though, there will finally be an exit from the tunnel to a better place, like Berlin became without the wall. It also relates more directly to the tunnel the men built to crawl under the wall.

The parts of the documentary I found most interesting were the stories of fleeing West Berlin. I thought the stories were touching and very intense at times. Maybe my “favorite” would be digging the tunnel under the wall when men would take two-week shifts digging. It made me feel really bad for the men because I can hardly imagine what it would be like to be stuck underground for two weeks, with undoubtedly a limited amount of food or water. Even though the stories of how difficult and stressful getting under, through, or over the wall were awful, I couldn't help but be impressed with the authorities and the things they thought of to improve the wall and prevent escape, such as the pipe at the top of the wall that was impossible to get a firm hold on, or the lines of sand meant to show tracks. These extreme efforts to keep people in, or out, was also somewhat confusing, as to why or how someone could have that much hatred for people who are “technically” still in the same country and sometimes have families on either side of the wall, like the brothers who eventually all crossed the wall via airplane. Overall, I thought this documentary was a great collection of a mix of stories and facts, making it surprisingly watchable. The first-hand accounts of escapes made them more interesting than if they were just narrations, making people realize that they are more than just stories.

Holly Crowe

Berlin Wall Response

This picture I feel is very accurate in symbolizing the Soviets. The wall is the Berlin wall, and the Soviets are Humpty Dumpty. Humpty Dumpty is falling off the wall because no matter what barriers or obstacles the Soviets throw at the Germans, they always find a way to overcome them. In the end, the Soviets rule in Germany ends, and all the laws and rules fall with the wall.

The film was very interesting for me because I never knew the Berlin wall was so complex. I just thought there was a wall that divided the east and west. The fact that there were a few different generations of walls that were made of different materials and had multiple escape deterrents surprised me. Between the thick walls, guard dogs, raked sand, and trip wires, it amazes me that some Germans were actually able to penetrate it without being killed. Also, I found interesting the amount of bravery that was shown by so many Germans that were willing to risk their lives just to get to the west. Not only were some of their escapes extremely thought out and planned, but they saved many people as well, making them heroes to the ones they freed from Soviet rule. The most captivating escape to me was the students in 1960 that actually dug a tunnel right under the death strip and the wall and help free over 50 people. The tunnel may have been small, but it definitely was very successful. Another escape I found to be particularly funny was the one with the two brothers that disguised two planes with the Soviet star so that they could land in East Berlin, pick up their brother, and then return to West Berlin without being shot at. The whole movie was very inspiring in the fact that it shows that even when tough situations are thrown at the Germans, they are always able to pull through in the end.

William Miller

A Response to the Berlin Wall

This is a picture from one of Pink Floyd’s albums showing two faces staring at each other with a desolate field around them. The two faces in this picture are starring at each other like they want to say something but they don’t, instead they just continue to stare. This image is symbolic of what the German people experienced during the Berlin Wall because even though the German people were divided they still wanted to work with each other, but failed to find away until the end of the Cold War.

The film that we watched was very moving because it showed the plight and absolute desperation that many East Germans were in. While I was able to empathize with the East Germans, there was one thing that did bother me. The fact that none of the Western leaders, particularly the many different Presidents throughout the walls life, failed to challenge the construction of the wall. It almost seemed that they were pleased that the wall was built because it helped to reduce tensions. While I understand their actions not to push the Western world into WW3 against the USSR, I still feel that they could have done more to oppose the wall’s construction. By opposing it, they could have showed East Germans that they were going to fight not just for the freedom of West Germans, but for the freedom of all Germans. I believe that this could have lead to the wall coming down sooner and to less tension between East and West Germans after it fell.

David Sibley

Response to the Berlin Wall

After the events of the Second World War, the Berlin Wall revealed the deep fissures that had appeared as the Western Capitalist nations faced off against the Eastern Communist nations. The Berlin Wall reveals just how willing the two Super Powers of the time were willing destroy individuals lives and escalate the tensions and fear of a people just so one could show its self as the superior nation. The Berlin Wall smacks the face of the hard work of the German people who were just trying to survive in a hostile climate. Germany was a nation that had within the span of fifty years been torn apart by two world wars, and forced to pay for its losses in even more of its blood. The video showed this in the discussion of how the young man who first tried to escape through the Berlin Wall was fatally wounded and left to slowly die on international television. Yet amongst all the negativity the video also revealed the endearing spirit of hope that gripped East Berlin and the many escape attempts. Each escape however culminated in tougher and harder practices by the East German Government. Yet the video showed that no matter how hard it became, the Berlin Wall was ineffective, and each new escape was more elaborate and more inspiring to more people. The picture I chose is supposed to represent the rising tensions in the world that led to the creation of the Berlin Wall, and how close the World came to an outbreak of further war because of the continuation of failed diplomacy and the nature of national pride's effect on destroying lives of innocent people.

Giuseppe Pellicano

Response to the Berlin Wall

The courageous, innovative, and sometimes brilliant methods of escape demonstrated the intestinal fortitude and desperation felt by some East Berliners. Some feared punishment or death and determined it better to accept their circumstances, but the daring few chose otherwise. I find their triumphs inspiring. As I viewed the program, I could not help but think what it may have felt like to be imprisoned without hope. To know a better life is just beyond a wall. So close, but yet so far. Their ability to view and nearly reach out and touch it yet never able to feel it’s grander must have been torturous. This and more suffering as they endured family separation, the total disregard of their human rights, lack of food, and other necessities. I again wondered what deep emotions they had when they successfully made it across the perilous barrier and into a freedom. I’m sure it was incredible and victorious to say the least. Even more so when they later discovered their achievements and utter resolve helped bring down the wall.

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ger/101/2010/fall/berlin_wall.txt · Last modified: 2010/10/14 23:30 (external edit)
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