Fotografía de Zero2Cool_DE bajo licencia CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Sin cambios. 

*N.d. E.: Este es el texto original en inglés, si quieres ver la traducción al español, da click acá.

It was a beatiful day in spring when my father and I climbed the small hill right behind our village. The sun was already quite warm and made us sweat. Standing on top of the hill we enjoyed the look over the surrounding landscape of villages and potatoe fields. I remember turning my head and looking at a line of trees, green and tall forming the horizon in that very direction. «What’s behind those trees?» I asked pointing my finger West. «It’s the end of the world.» My father replied. «As we know it.»

I had to swallow. The end of the world. That was supposed to be something big and dangerous. Something I had heard about in fairy tales. A place where true heroes went to prove themselves. And it was here. Right next to the village I lived in? That was something I could not quite believe. And still, it was true.

Of course that never happened. But in my memory or someone elses it might as well have. Someone, it was Gabriel Garcia Marquez I think, once said that it is not important what really happened. Importance lies on what we remember. And how we tell it.

So I will tell the story of that very fall of 1989. And I swear every single word in it is true because that’s the way I remember it. Back then I lived in the Eastern part of Germany. Close to end of the world. And I mean it in the true sense of the word. Not like, when you are little and the world ends at the garden gate or just a little behind your sandbox. This was the end of the world. No one I knew, not even my father had ever gone past it. And so we lived as quite a happy small family. My parents, my brother and me. We never starved. We always had clothes to wear. And honestly speaking this is more than many people have in their whole life.

But then not suddenly more creepingly something changed. As a kid you do not follow the news or fully comprehend what happens in the world around you. But still I felt there was something out there. One might fall for pathos and call it change. But that would be too much. It was more like a whisper in the trees. Voices in the stream of a river. Voices I could not understand but I knew what they said was important. Rumors were rising about parents who had left their children at home to go to Hungary or Czechoslovakia and on from there to Western Germany.

It all sounded like the first bubbles in water that is just about to boil slowly making their way to the surface. And as you watch the water more bubbles are forming. Small ones at first but they get bigger and bigger as you go.

But boiling water is dangerous and so I as a kid was kept away from it so I would not burn myself. That is why I do not know how it happened or when. All I noticed was that something had gone differently merely overnight. I remember the line of cars along the main street of our village forming the first traffic jam I had ever seen in my entire life. Nicely lined up they were standing with their snouts pointing West. They all were waiting to cross the German-German border which only recently had been opened. This border was more than 10 km away and there were not as many cars in Eastern Germany as there are today.

A few days later my mother and grandmother had the idea to cycle to Western Germany as it was not too far away. And they decided to take me with them. So far I had only heard rumors about the mysterious country right at our doorstep that was supposed to be so completely different from ours. I had heard about chocolate and toys and stuff and I was excited to go there. And so we cycled. It must have been one of those rare sunny days in November. We went uphill and downhill past our neighboring village. Past the watchdogs of the older days that had been put to a cage by now. But still they were able to produce an awful lot of barking. And then past the checkpoint were they controlled our passports and further on past the great watchtower of Amon Sul (at least it felt like it, or better feels like it today). I rode my bicycle over the end of the world and had to realize at the end of this world there was just the beginning of another one.

And then finally we reached our destination the first village in the Western Germany or over there as it was more frequently called these days. So I stood there, with my legs still a little shaky because of all the biking and looked around. And I have to admit: I was honestly shocked and disappointed. This village consisted and still consists of three houses, a barn and a truck stop. So I thought: «Well, this is the famous West that everyone is making such a big deal about?!?» I simply could not believe it!

And so we cycled back which – I swear – was the hardest bike ride I ever did in my entire life. And I still do not know whether it was me being exhausted or disappointed. Maybe both. As this year and another year went by a couple of old men who wore suits and lived in big cities decided about the end of my country. The end of the world I had grown up in. And it would still take many years until the lives in both countries would start to resemble one another.

Well, that was the story about the end of the world. Final question is: Do I feel fine? Well, I think I do. Despite the fact that being an Ossi still has a strange taste to some people I would say that I am proud of it to some extend. It’s part of who I am. Part of how I define myself. It was my people, the people of Leipzig, Dresden and East Berlin, who tore down that wall. Not the people of Hamburg, Munich or Frankfurt. Moreover, it was a peaceful revolution in which no blood was spilled at any time. Looking at the Arabian world of today this makes me even prouder.

I am not too sure however, how I like the current political system, as democracy seems to be a slow and sometimes dry process. But: However good or bad you think the current political system is, it’s certainly better than what we had in the East.