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How the West was lost

On the forgotten half of Berlin

This is a belated plug for Dave Rimmer's feature on the Ostzeit photography exhibition in Berlin that we published last week. It's a display of photographs from the former East Germany, but Dave makes an interesting point at the end of his piece: we think of the East as a "vanished" world -- and what about West Berlin? Geographically isolated during the cold war, it was never really part of "the west" as such. The former East Berlin is now a fashionable tourist destination and memories of life under communism have been evoked in films such as Goodbye Lenin and The Lives of Others. But, writes Dave, "nobody has bothered to ask west Berliners what they think about the past". He continues:

Watching everything move east into the smartened-up new city centre, while their side of town becomes ever tattier and less fashionable, the west Berliners . . . have become the forgotten term in Berlin's perennially vexed equation.

Here's video footage of a crossing from east to west in 1990, after the wall had come down, but when the city was still divided: