Saturday, November 9, 2019

Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

30 years ago today the Berlin Wall fell, 2 years after Reagan famously said ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this Wall’.

In total, at least 171 people were killed attempting to get over, under or around the wall. According to German historian Hans-Hermann Hertle in his work Berlin Wall: Monument of the Cold War, between 1961 and when the wall finally came down in 1989, over 5,000 East Germans successfully managed to cross the border by jumping out of windows of buildings adjacent to the wall or climbing over the barbed wire. Some even attempted to cross in hot air balloons, by ramming through in vehicles at high speeds or by crawling through sewers.

On Oct. 3, 1990, 11 months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, East and West Germany became one state again. Despite the initial euphoria, the road to recovery for East Germany was long and difficult with economic and social dislocation. And the fallout from the fall continues to this day: citizens were still paying slightly higher taxes than before the merger in order to cover the costs of unification.

In 1930 the history of Konnopke’s Imbiss, Berlin’s most famous currywurst stand under the Magistrate’s Viaduct in Schönhauser Allee. What started with Max and his Wurstkessel – sausage tray, with his wife, Charlotte at his side, became a Berlin Attraction. Since then it’s all been about sausages, in the war also from time to time about potato fritters. From 1960 onwards the first Currywurst in East Berlin has been available with ketchup to a family recipe. Konnopke’s became a cult. The Currywurst survived reunification and it’s new challenges including the rapid changes in the local area.

Today Konnopke’s team serves the locals, visitors and party people with sausages and more from morning to evening.

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