Painting the unforgettable past

By Toni Arrom Garau

After the end of WWII, in 1945, Berlin and the whole of Europe suffered a lot of changes. After the victory of the Soviet Union, the continent was divided. But, there is a unique case, in which a city was broken into two pieces. And this historical fact is well known as the “Berlin Wall”.

From 1961 to 1989, city of Berlin was divided into East Berlin (the communist side) and “West Berlin (the Capitalist one). A painful frontier in which some people died, just to have a better future. The Wall was pulled down  in November 1989, and the main reason was a sentence from the former president of the EU to Gorbachev, the last main leader of the Soviet Union: “Please, throw down the wall”. And after a long time period in which, people fought for their freedom, the barrier that used to divide Berlin was broken.


The Creative City Berlin takes part in that project. With a museum located near the last fragments of the East Side Wall, they wanted to portray the reasons, and also, to recreate the way in which people used to live those moments.

Creative City Berlin is a project that’s based on the main capital of Germany, that wants to give a voice to those useful projects (regarding art, history, technology and innovation), that many artists, experts and enthusiasts want to develop in Berlin, and recently in other cities.

View from The Wall Museum


That institution is called “The Wall Museum”, and its purpose is to give a chance to let people know about the context and the art that was portrayed on the wall.

With a lot of context of the wall, the main artists that took part in the lasts moments of the Wall, and the numerous performances that took part in 1989, “The Wall Museum” wants to give an immersive experience to the younger generation.

But, regarding the dark past, the division of the city, the deaths and the leaders, there is a special thing that made the Wall unique: Its art.


Part of the “Berlin Wall”


According to one of the touristic guides of “The Wall Museum”, Berliners started to paint the wall, once they knew that is was going to be destroyed. Nobody wanted to remember one of the darkest epoques that Berlin suffered, but they wanted to state constancy about the situation. And the best way to give a stamp for future generations, and to not destroy the whole frontier, people started to draw paintings, symbols and claims. In order to preserve a part of the history.

The “Berlin Wall” has not entirely been destroyed. Moreover, there are a lot of parts of the Wall in a lot of places. Some of them, are in foundations. And others are in the exactly same position. And also, there are some sculptures in some places where the Wall used to be.


Also, instead of that a lot of parts of the Berlin Wall are exposed to the public, they look exactly as the last moments in which the frontiers were installed. That is because is totally forbidden to damage the original paintings, messages and political and religious symbols that were portrayed on the Wall at the moment of being destroyed. And also, there are huge punishments for those who try to damage it.

Part of the “Berlin Wall”


And those remaining fragments, they have a lot of powerful messages. A mix of expressionism, mixed with surreal style. But in every moment, to express the rage, hope, and egalitarian feel of the era.

Paintings with messages. Paintings with Jewish symbols. Remarkable dates in which the the paintings were made. Intense and vivid colours, when the grey concrete was the predominant. Political messages. Unity. Illusion.

Intact parts of the frontier, in order to give expression to those painful moments. Artistic representations about what the Wall used to be. Messages that say “The Wall was over here”. People that wanted peace, in a place that never had it. In order to give a message for future generations.

That´s the Berlin Wall.