Walking the Line Between Hope and Despair.

Twenty nine years ago my life changed forever.  The Berlin Wall fell.  We had been in Berlin the summer before and the wall looked permanent.  We went back the next summer in time to see streets opening in the Wedding neighborhood and watched people crossing the former wall course in their own neighborhoods, walking back and forth shaking their heads in wonder.

I was a student in Berlin in 1964 staying at a hostel near the wall close to Potsdammer Platz.  The lights illuminating the “zone of death” shone through our window all night.  In the August 1989 it looked permanent, when we returned in June 1990 it was a crumbling ruin.

I didn’t know it at the time but Maurerfall (Wall Fall) would mark a pivot point in our lives, our “midlife crisis.”  With the collapse of Communism the possibilities for “free media” opened up through the former Communist Bloc.  Suzi and I found new careers in media development, working throughout Central Europe, the Balkans and the former Soviet Union.  All things seemed possible.  Press Freedom was on the rise around the world.  And now…

…. And now we need to remember something else.  Eighty years ago tonight Germany suffered “The night of broken glass,” Kristallnacht.   On that night thousands of Jewish shops and houses were smashed, Jews were rounded up, many murdered.  It was the start of something unimaginably horrible. So November 9 is a double anniversary, one full of hope, one full of despair.  We must to remember both and navigate a path that leads towards hope.

1964

Scans of old, faded photos.

1989

Scans of old, faded photos.

1990

Scans of old, faded photos.

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