Cold War Memories: The Wall

The first time I saw the Berlin Wall was in 1975. My father pulled me out of high school during spring semester of my senior year and we took a two-week trip to Europe. We spent most of our time in Germany. He spoke German and I'd taken German during all four years of high school. Our brief stay in Berlin made an enormous impact on me and when I joined the army six years later one of my goals was to return. I was lucky enough to receive orders for Field Station Berlin in 1983. One order of business upon arrival was to photograph the Wall. There used to be a viewing platform on the west side of the wall overlooking what had been the vibrant city center of Potsdamer Platz before the Wall went up. By the time I photographed it, the spot was a vast death zone, starkly symbolic of the worst impulses of a totalitarian regime. Thanks to the marvel of modern digital technology, I was able to stitch the four shots I took into a panoramic view. It's below, and it looks as chilling to me today as it did 30 years ago.  

The death zone at Potsdamer Platz in 1983

The death zone at Potsdamer Platz in 1983