Contributed by Gerold Hübner, whom I met when I was photographing this section of the wall in the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond, Washington.
What does it mean to me as a German citizen standing right next to a real piece of the Berlin Wall here in the United States? Spontaneously there are mixed feelings. I was fortunate having had the chance to grow up in west Germany. So the Wall did not have as much impact on my life as it would have had if I lived in the former east Germany or east Berlin.
I had the freedom to travel anywhere where I wanted even though my limited revenues prevented me from going everywhere, unfortunately. But I cannot complain: I wanted to be a foreign exchange student in the US. And I really ended up as one in Mesa, Arizona, where graduated from high school in 1978.
Standing here next to the Wall it reminds me that my fellow citizens from east Germany back then have not had this privilege of freedom. It reminds me that the Wall was an unnatural barrier that prevented me, my sister and my brother from getting to know our uncles and cousins who lived behind the curtain. I remember my mother sending them packages with stuff that typically was not readily available in east Germany, e. g. good coffee, candy or modern clothes. I met my uncle only once, when he was allowed to travel to my grandmother’s funeral – without his wife and kids, who had to stay in east Germany to make sure he returned.
Back then and even shortly until the Wall came down it was very hard to believe that Germany would be re-united again some time. When it happened it took a while to realize this is for real. It felt good though. The east German Government kept its citizens like prisoners in our own country. A state like that does not deserve to exist. The day the Wall fell was a very happy day for me and everybody I know. There was some uncertainty during the first weeks after the Wall come open about how the other western countries would react to unified and potentially stronger Germany in the center of Europe. However, the was overwhelmingly large support for the German re-unification from all over that made me quite optimistic very soon.
The Wall is a piece of German history. One we would have liked to miss! It feels good and right that it is gone now. And when you are in Berlin looking for rests of the Wall you’ll have a very hard time finding some. It’s easier here in Redmond!