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Behind the Berlin WallEast Germany and the Frontiers of Power$
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Patrick Major

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199243280

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199243280.001.0001

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Seeking Closure: Remembering the Wall

Seeking Closure: Remembering the Wall

(p.258) 9 Seeking Closure: Remembering the Wall
Behind the Berlin Wall

Patrick Major (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Considers how the Wall has thrown shadows into the post‐1989 era, both in the wave of nostalgic and critical films and novels, but also in the trials of border guards which took place in the 1990s. The bulk of the chapter concerns the politics surrounding memorials to the Wall. The aestheticization of the Wall through graffiti before its fall reflected a ‘western’ vision of the edifice as Cold War absurdity, but also a message board for an eclectic range of libertarian causes. Likewise, the artistic commemoration of the Wall since 1989 has been driven largely be western architects who have sometimes unwittingly prioritized the Wall ‘under western eyes'; for instance in marking in Berlin's pavements the line where the western ‘frontline’ wall ran, rather than the eastern wall which confronted East Germans. This final chapter reinforces the book's overall message of looking at the Wall with eastern eyes, both those of the party, but those of ordinary East Germans caught up in a system of real and invisible walls which deeply marked their life stories.

Keywords:   memory, memorials, graffiti, trials, border guards, Ostalgie

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