Sharing my Digitized Negatives: Cold War Collection. Some of these are pretty scratched up—some were lost completely because they fused when the envelope they were stored in got too hot. Still, there are good memories here. This one shows Yours Truly on a hill with the Teufelsberg 'Radar Facility' behind me. It was where I worked—my first job out of High School—headphones, secrecy, and a pod with no windows. But the work was fun. In this picture, I had been out of the US Army for about six months and had yet to cut my hair. This picture was taken ca. May 1980.
Soviet Mission personnel cruise through the US Army 'PX' parking lot. Once, when I was working as an interviewer with the Joint Allied Refugee Operations Center, I took pause from writing a report to look out the window and saw a car full of these gentlemen looking right back at me.
Somebody has renamed the Straße des 17. Juni into the Straße des 9. November. The Berlin Wall officially fell on November 9, 1989. The Straße des 17. Juni was so named to commemorate an uprising in East Germany on June 17, 1953, which most West Germans referred to as the 'Day of German Unity' (Tag der deutschen Einheit). It was celebrated as a holiday up until the unification of Germany on October 3, 1990—which has since become the 'Day of German Unity.' It is awkward but worth noting that November 9—10, 1938, is referred to in history as the 'Night of Broken Glass.' More here.
It wasn't all beer and history. One of my hobbies—training other people's pets. These little guys needed somebody to look after them when their owners went on vacation. As I recall, my friend Ric gave these cats to an elderly lady who thought their tricks were cute. He said they got on his nerves, always expecting a treat after a performance. What's the Internet without cats, right?
On October 7, 1989, the German Democratic Republic was set to celebrate it's 40th birthday, but the pomp and circumstance was marred by young people demonstrating for freedom. The East German secret police came down hard. This leaflet commemorates the protests and assures the reader that the vigil for freedom from the oppression of the Ministry for State Security (MfS—Ministerium für Staatssicherheit) will continue. At this point in time, the MfS had renamed and tried to rebrand itself as the 'Office for National Security' (Amt für nationale Sicherheit—ANS). It was not enough.
A propaganda banner in East Berlin decrying that the Stasi is now done for, but the people of East Germany can now count on being spied on by West German intelligence and police agencies, and informants.
A small propaganda leaflet in East Berlin depicting Helmut Kohl, West Germany's Chancellor, holding Lothar de Mazière, East Germany's Candidate for Prime Minister from the CDU, on his lap. L. de Mazière is holding a bananna, probably to placate him and keep him quiet. De Mazière won the election and served as the last leader of a short-lived, independent East Germany. Many people in both East and West Germany felt the unification was being rushed. Banannas were generally scarce in East Germany. There was news footage of West Berliners throwing banannas at East Germans entering the city once the wall had opened, and it was hardly meant as a warm greeting.
Statue of Marx and Engels, part of the Marx-Engels-Forum in East Berlin (Berlin-Mitte), in 1990. Karl Marx and Friederich Engels were the authors of the 'Communist Manifesto.' (I read it.) At the base, somebody has spraypainted 'Tut uns Leid' or 'We're Sorry.'