Life in the GDR - Marking the 30th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Do You Know Urban? Ingrid Reschke: Do you know Urban? © DEFA-Stiftung

Thirty years ago, on 9 November 1989, the border between East and West Berlin was opened. Thousands of East Germans crossed into the West, many leaving the German Democratic Republic for the first time in decades. The Fall of the Berlin Wall marked the beginning of the official process leading to Germany’s reunification and the dissolution of the GDR. We take this anniversary as an opportunity to look more closely at life in East Germany. How did people go about their work and deal with social and personal issues? How did they manage to cope with ideological divisions which restricted their possibilities or separated them from loved ones?

In three film series we address these questions from different angles –through the work of one of East Germany’s most important documentarians presented in the retrospective Conjuring up the Real – The Films of Jürgen Böttcher, via a series of largely unknown feature and documentary films by Women Directors of the DEFA, and under the theme of Love Divided in our regular Goethe-Kino strand. The same theme is taken up in the exhibition "If only you could be here..." – Love Letters Across the Berlin Wall, which shows how lovers separated by the Wall kept their relationships alive through letters. Finally, a special screening of Andreas Goldstein’s essay film The Communist followed by conversation with the director will explore the political ideals and failures of the GDR through the biography of one of its most prominent functionaries.
We thank our many partners for collaborating with us on these events and look forward to welcoming you at the events which you find listed below and under the different sections.