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How Photos Depicted Life Behind The Berlin Wall, 30 Years Onward

By on November 5, 2019 0 193 Views

Today marks the 30 year anniversary since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

It’s hard to believe that it has been 30 years since half a million people gathered in East Berlin to protest, demanding democracy, and that the Berlin Wall fell shortly later. There are countless photos from the era—people climbing over the wall, embracing long-lost family members—but which ones best tell the story of the reunified city?

While the city of Berlin has several celebrations planned for this week (don’t miss the public ribbon artwork at Brandenburg Gate), there are also several photography exhibitions too, which depict life in East Berlin. They also detail how the Wall was a message board for society in both East and West Berlin; people writing messages for loved ones, protest graffiti, artworks and memorials. Here are some of the exhibitions now on view in Berlin, and what photographs that were taken before and after the Wall fell in 1989 (besides that infamous David Hasselhoff concert).


Until December 22, this group exhibition on at the Marienfelde Refugee Center Museum looks at three European cities that experienced political divisions and walls; Berlin, Nova Gorica and Sarajevo, showing historical photographs from each city. The photos are accompanied by commentary from locals who experienced the divisions in each of their cities and survived to tell their stories.

Everyday Life: The Wall, The Stasi

The DDR Museum in Berlin, which is arguably the most compelling collection of East Berlin artefacts in the city, is truly like walking back into a time warp. The museum has over 300,000 objects from the DDR, and their impressive permanent exhibition includes household appliances and furniture in life-sized sets showing kitchens and living rooms. Among the photos in their collection, there are East Berlin hotel pamphlets, shots of a traffic jam at Brandenburg Gate and old fashion catalogues. Their current exhibition, Everyday Life: The Wall, The Stasi: All Under One Roof looks at life behind the wall and how difficult it really was.

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