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THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL, NOVEMBER 1989

Witnessing history in the making

"Hearing of the events in Berlin I flew in to the city from my base in London. I'd grown up in the shadow of the Cold War and to be a witness to this momentous piece of history was thrilling."
-
Richard Moore

 

 

 

 

 

Some amusing anecdotes from Berlin

The autumn of 1989 was political history in the making. People power across Central and Eastern Europe was forcing communist governments to give up their grip on power.

For anyone interested in politics it was astounding, for a journalist it was breathtaking.

I had thought about flying down to Romania from London when the revolution began there but could not get the time off. I regretted that and so when the Berlin Wall opened I just had to go there.

Two photographer friends of mine and I flew into Tempelhof airport and arrived amid absolute chaos. We had no accommodation booked and, of course, the city was overcrowded with East Berliners and media contingents from around the globe.

It took us an afternoon to find a place to stay - a private apartment owned by an elderly gentleman whose son lived with him. It was comfortable and warm, as European apartments are, and then we set off to check out the Wall.

Over the next few days and nights we walked for blinking miles, saw plenty of remarkable things - including a snowfight over the Wall - and photographed a part of history.

The weather was very cold -12C at night with 30cm of snow - and during the day it got to about -8C.

The cold affected our camera batteries and also our fingers. In the digital age you have no idea how difficult it is to change rolls of film when your fingers are frozen to the bone.

That said the Berliners were great and so was their beer and pork. Their boiled sausages you can keep though.

My time in Berlin was exciting and I hope my photos give you an idea of the times and show the sheer joy of East Germans released from communist shackles and West Germans able to meet with their friends and families again.

- Richard Moore

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