20 years after the fall of the Berlin wall, photographer Arwed Messmer found photos taken by East German patrol agents during 1965 and 1966 looking toward the West.Because taking pictures of the wall was illegal for private citizens in East Germany, this was a huge find.
Messmer digitized the negatives of the photos that he found in the archives, and created panoramas – CLICK HERE TO JUMP TO THE PHOTOS >
He worked with writer/researcher Annet Groschner to give context to the pictures.
Groschner found out that the East German agents kept meticulous records of all cross-border communication, including insults and jokes shouted over from the west.
“When the soldiers were on duty they had to record what was shouted at them in their reports,” Gröschner told The Local.
“We found the reports from 1962 and 1963. They would categorize the remarks, so if someone threw something over, a present for someone, it was regarded as an attempt to make contact. If someone shouted ‘Ulbricht must die’ (East Germany leader Walter Ulbricht) it would be categorized as an ‘ideological diversion,” Groschner said.
Annett Gröschner and Arwed Messmer are currently presenting The Other View: The Early Berlin Wall as both a book and as an exhibition in Berlin. If you can’t make it to Berlin, check it out here.
Take a tour of what the Berlin Wall looked like from the east in previously unseen photos.
Canal-side section of the Wall: members of the West Berlin police reportedly shot at wild ducks around 7 pm
Provinzstrasse: The guards were encouraged to desert their posts. Meanwhile a man's bag fell to the ground. He jumped over the wall to get it and was arrested.
Gleimtunnel/Falkplatz: Six youths threw stones from the upper part of Gleimstrasse, across the sight barrier. They were directed back away by a West German police officer.
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