A Pan Am Flight took me to West-Berlin


It was on a sunny day in august 1976 when I came to Berlin for the very first time. Short before our airplane landed at Tegel airport, I looked out of the little window and was shocked seeing the huge Berlin wall from a bird’s eye view and most important: its military barriers. At the same time I realised my mum sitting next to me starting to cry. The wall had not only devided the city of Berlin and Germany - it also teared apart our family. This was one of these moments when you are torn from the fantasy world of your childhood. Having been only eight years old, these next days in Berlin let me grew up and sharpened my perception for quite a few things such as the impact of politics on one’s daily life, the privilege having been born into a free world and the necessary to never give up your convictions and dreams. Later in 1992, right after my exams, I decided to move to Berlin, only three years after the wall had come down. What for a long time seemed not to be realistic at all, had become true, because people had started a peaceful revolution for a free and better life. The following years had been years of optimism and construction. I was able to witness how Berlin once again became a lively, creative city, a symbol of the free spirit and of filling the ruins of history with new life. Today one of the biggest magnets for people from all over the world is Berlin's contemporary art scene, which has developed out of this amalgam. Today, 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, we are again confronted with a deep trench in our society, between those who fight for liberty and democracy and those whose answers to the huge challenges and crises of our time are of a totalitarian and fascist nature. To put it with Ingeborg Bachmann: History keeps teaching, but she can not find students. More then ever, we need the arts to break with obsolete mindsets and behaviour patterns. More then ever we need an open dialogue and multidisciplinary collaboration to prevent history from repeating itself.


(Picture: Madeleine Schwinge, A Pan Am flight took me to West-Berlin, WELTINNENRAUM, From the letter-series, magazine cutouts and pencil on paper, 15 x 21 cm, 2019)

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