Significant emotional events you won’t forget. Nor where you’ve been and how you felt. I remember as examples 9/11 and Kennedy’s assassination, Princess Diana’s funeral, my father’s passing and maybe a handful further events, the last maybe the disclosure of Abu Ghuraib.
It may be amazing that my very first recollection of a historical event, deeply emotional, was that of August 13, 1961, exactly 60 years ago. I was just five years old. I remember a wonderful afternoon in a nearby park, Essen’s Gruga park, together with my parents, my mother’s sisters and spouses and possibly several of my cousins, all younger than I.
My parents had always an open house. So, the whole party met afterwards at our home, certainly for cake and coffee, smoking cigarettes and having a glass of cognac or beer.
As my parents did not own a TV then the news were received by radio. The Eastern German regime had started building a wall in Berlin, separating Westberlin from Berlin (Ost), later called (by the SED regime) the Antifascist Barrier (“antifaschistischer Schutzwall”).
The men in our living room were unsmiling and soon started talking about an upcoming war. The women wept. We children perceived something menacing: the Cold War had ultimately gained access to our innocent toddlers’ mind.
Luckily, the two German states have long reunited. The upcoming election for a new House (Bundestag) on September 26 will probably show, however, that differences in voting patterns may still persist. Nevertheless, the first Eastern German chancellor, Angela Merkel, had been elected and re-elected four times and has stayed in office for 16 years. Highly respected and admired all over the world (but at times heavily criticized by many, most notably Eastern, Germans).
12 August 2021 @ 5:33 pm.
Last modified August 12, 2021.