On August 13, 1961, the Berlin wall was raised overnight. Literally starting at midnight, the border between West Berlin and East Germany was entirely lined with barbed wire fence by morning. The wall itself was built then built up inside the fence.
This morning on NPR I heard a review of writer Hogler Teschke, who was born and raised in East Germany. When he was seven, he first saw the wall.
Renee Montagne asked him about divisions between the East and West:
Hogler Teschke: "I think the most important difference was that the people in the West grew up in a democratic and an open and liberal society, and we did not. And with freedom, and with democracy, there are also many many challenges, and you have to learn to face this. And you have to learn to think and act for yourself. ..."
RM: "You mean it wasn't just an immediate gratification of the basic human need to be free-- as I think the most idealistic people would think. That emerging from communism wasn't that simple."
HT: "A very good old friend of mine... once said, It is actually not very easy to learn to be a free person. That sounds very simple and banal, but it is not if you have not learned it from your childhood on."
They spoke also of two words created from this fractured history: Ostalgia, or nostalgia for the East. Teschke's son, who was 10 when the wall was open, calls himself an Ossie, like a Eastie. Teschke believes his son's generation still feels the divide, but he hopes with the next generation it will disappear.