Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

Posts tagged “Berlin

The Zeppelin airship “Graf Zeppelin” flying over the Reichstag building in Berlin; October 1928

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In 1928 the LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin became the first commercial passenger transatlantic flight service in the world.

LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin (Deutsches Luftschiff Zeppelin #127; Registration: D-LZ 127) was a German-built and -operated, passenger-carrying, hydrogen-filled, rigid airship which operated commercially from 1928 to 1937. It was named after the German pioneer of airships, Graf Ferdinand von Zeppelin, who was a Count in the German nobility.

The ‘Graf Zeppelin’ is considered the finest airship ever built. It flew more miles than any airship had done to that time or would in the future. Its first flight was on September 18, 1928. In August 1929, it circled the globe. Its flight began with a trip from Friedrichshaften, Germany, to Lakehurst, New Jersey, allowing William Randolph Hearst, who had financed the trip in exchange for exclusive rights to the story, to claim that the voyage began from American soil.

Piloted by Eckener, the craft stopped only at Tokyo, Japan, Los Angeles, California, and Lakehurst. The trip took 12 days—less time than the ocean trip from Tokyo to San Francisco.

During the 10 years the Graf Zeppelin flew, it made 590 flights including 144 ocean crossings. It flew more than one million miles (1,609,344 kilometers), visited the United States, the Arctic, the Middle East, and South America, and carried 13,110 passengers.

(Wikipedia)

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Four-year-old Michael Finder of East Germany is tossed by his father into a net held by firemen across the border in West Berlin. The apartments were in East Berlin while their windows opened into West Berlin; October 7th, 1961

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Soviet Soldiers performing the Cossack dance after the defeat of Berlin, Germany; ca. May 1945

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Four-year-old Michael Finder of East Germany is tossed by his father into a net held by firemen across the border in West Berlin. The apartments were in East Berlin while their windows opened into West Berlin; October 7, 1961

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His father jumped after him:

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His mother had jumped before him:

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Escaping on Bernauer Strasse – video of the father jumping (at 00:46).


 

The soviet occupation zone in Germany (and Berlin) suffered from serious movements of educated individuals from their sectors toward the west throughout the 1950’s. This brain drain encouraged the Soviet Union to begin construction of a “Fascist Protection Wall” that would keep East Germans protected from “Fascism” that the Western Allies had “not eradicated in their sectors. ”

Of course, this wall was only really to keep East Germans from emigrating to the West. The wall later became the Berlin Wall.

These apartments were along Bernauer Straße (Bernauer Street) in Berlin. A line which saddled the border between East and West Berlin. After the wall was first constructed in 1961, many escape attempts were made through these apartment blocks. So much so, that the soviets had to brick up the windows and raid the apartments of the people who lived there. They evicted the people living in those apartments. So what you’re seeing when these people are jumping from the 4th floor are the people who are making a last ditch attempt at the West before all their (relatively safe) options out of East Berlin were gone for good.

These apartments were later torn down and the Berlin Wall that most of us picture in the news reels, and have chunks of in our museums all over the world, was erected.


 

Here are some historical photos for reference.

Mayor Willy Brandt taking a stroll along Bernauer St. You can clearly see the bricked up windows here; Winter 1963:

Berlin, Staatsbesuch Vizepräsident von Zypern

Comparison of the area 1963 vs 2011 – (the poles mark the location of the old apartment building that stood on the location in 1961):

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Wrecked military vehicles in front of Brandenburg Gate during the Battle of Berlin; ca. 1945

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SA (Sturm Abteilung or “Brownshirts”) call for the boycott of Jewish shops in Friedrichstraße, Berlin; April 1, 1933.

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The sign says: “Germans, Attention! This shop is owned by Jews. Jews damage the German economy and pay their German employees starvation wages. The main owner is the Jew Nathan Schmidt.”


Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany riding through the streets of Berlin with Tsar Nicholas II of Russia; ca.1900

"How are ya, cousin!!!"

We shan’t see the likes of those mustaches again.

It would be tough to squeeze any more incompetent decision makers into this photo.


Germans returning after the Battle of Berlin gaze up at the new order of things, Berlin; ca. July 1945

 

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The text says: “Да здравствует победа англо-советско-американского боевого союза над немецко-фашистскими захватчиками”

Translation : “Long live the victory of the Anglo-Soviet-American battle union over the German-Fascist conquerors.”


Watching the construction of the Berlin Wall, West Berlin; ca. 1962.

1PfTGysThe Berlin Wall is so much more interesting than most people can imagine. Just the way it went up, the changes it went through its all totally surreal.

A soldier of the GDR jumping across the fence shortly before it was too late.
A soldier of the GDR jumping across the fence shortly before it was too late.

The “wall” literally went up overnight on a weekend. People went to bed in one city and woke up in either East or West Berlin. It was later beefed up and filled in, but the “state border” was closed to travel on the night of 12/13 August, 1961. Tales of people who were trapped on the wrong side of the wall are some of the most heartbreaking I’ve come across. Peter Wyden’s book “Wall” and Anna Funder’s book “Stasiland” interview people who were in that situation and do a pretty good job of expressing how horrifying it was and why people risked their lives to get back across to the West.

The Berlin Wall entirely surrounded West Berlin, so no you couldn’t “simply go around it”.

Berlin-wall-map

The wall started being built in late 1961, but throughout the years it went through many changes. Wikipedia states there were four main versions of the wall:
1. Wire fence (1961)
2. Improved wire fence (1962–1965)
3. Concrete wall (1965–1975)
4. Grenzmauer 75 (Border Wall 75) (1975–1989)

(There is an intact part of the Wall on Bernauerstrasse with a large open air museum. They go through it all step by step explaining everything: people jumping out of windows, windows being bricked up, then people tunneling under, children stuck on one side, trip wires attached to machine guns, dogs patrolling on wires….its just so crazy.)


A Female Mason Perched High above Berlin; ca. 1910

Gravity had not yet been invented at that time.

Gravity had not yet been invented at that time.

With the rise of industrialization, the number of German women who worked outside the home also increased. This usually meant factory work. But in some families with their own businesses, daughters also learned a trade so that they could help out: here, we see a master-mason’s daughter during the renovation work on the old city hall tower in Berlin.

(Source)