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 The wall came tumbling down.

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The wall came tumbling down. Empty
PostSubject: The wall came tumbling down.   The wall came tumbling down. Icon_minitime2/11/2009, 18:53

This week marks the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Not only the wall but the beginning of the end of the Iron Curtain.

What memories do you have of the Iron Curtain?

As a civvy new to Germany in 1979 I could not believe that fence the first time I saw it. On the other side in the distance were ordinary people working in the fields. Did they see me and if they did what did they think? For some stupid reason I picked up a rock and threw it over the fence
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Ian
WOII
WOII


Number of posts : 95
Age : 69
Localisation : Suffield,Alberta
Cap Badge : REME
Places Served : UK, BAOR,BATUS
Registration date : 2008-04-06

The wall came tumbling down. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The wall came tumbling down.   The wall came tumbling down. Icon_minitime2/11/2009, 22:09

I recall going to Berlin on the train in 1975 to play football for 20fd wksp. I visited checkpoint Charlie, seeing the exact spot that President Kennedy made his famous 'doughnut' speech brought a lump to my throat. I was in Germany when the wall went up, dad was a serving soldier at the time, it was a scary time I can tell you! I watched the wall come down on television over here in Canada, I would have loved to have been in Germany at the time, although my brother who lives and works in Germany tells me that it was the worst thing that could have happened, and Germany will never be the same. Ian.
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recce83
Capt
Capt
recce83

Number of posts : 221
Age : 81
Localisation : Peachland British Columbia, Canada
Cap Badge : Black Watch of Canada
Places Served : 4 CIBG Soest and Werl 1957-1965, Camp Borden, Camp Gagetown
Registration date : 2009-06-04

The wall came tumbling down. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The wall came tumbling down.   The wall came tumbling down. Icon_minitime2/11/2009, 22:14

I know what you mean. I took a couple of trips up to the border myself in the early 60s, once south east of Fulda on the road that detoured around the demolished viaduct on the Frankfurt-Dresden autobahn. This was in the 'Fulda Gap' where the brass believed that an invasion, if it came, would probably originate. The other spot was just south of Helmstedt where the West Germans had a small but excellent museum and diorama set up.

Looking over the border the houses and buildings looked identical to those in the west: white square boxes with red tile roofs, etc. It was hard not to imagine one was gazing at another planet that was identical to our own. It was a very surrealistic experience. I'm sure it got pretty boring to the British and US troops as well as the BFS personell who patrolled it regularly, but it was quite an unforgettable experience to me.

I've had a running project in mind to go over to see the former GDR territory as it is today, but 20 years later I still haven't got around to doing it.
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Nobby
WOII
WOII
Nobby

Number of posts : 79
Age : 59
Localisation : Leicester
Cap Badge : REME
Places Served : Tidworth, Sennelarger, Werl, Munsterlager, Catterick, Paderborn, Ripon, Detmold, Marchwood.
Registration date : 2009-02-05

The wall came tumbling down. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The wall came tumbling down.   The wall came tumbling down. Icon_minitime3/11/2009, 15:47

I was in Sennelager when the wall came down and i have to say that there was no celebrating on the west when the wall came down. As has been said here, a lot of the West Germans believe it was the worst thing that could have happened.
Germany's econonmy was one of the strongest before the fall of the wall and it collapsed as quickly as the wall did.
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donald
WOI
WOI


Number of posts : 156
Age : 91
Cap Badge : 1st The Royal Dragoons - The Blues and Royals (RHG/D)
Places Served : UK,BOAR,Egypt
Registration date : 2008-04-04

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PostSubject: Re: The wall came tumbling down.   The wall came tumbling down. Icon_minitime3/11/2009, 16:11

A recent review amoung East Germans revealed that about 60% would like to see the wall back.They dare not ask the West Germans what they think.The problem was that those from the East expected,overnight,to get what the West had worked hard for for 40 or so years.Germany would still be rich but for the huge sums spent on the East.And did you know that those in the East get a bigger pension than those in the West?And do you also know that the widow of Honecker gets a pension from here that would make many poor pensioners feel like kings!
------
Don Question
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recce83
Capt
Capt
recce83

Number of posts : 221
Age : 81
Localisation : Peachland British Columbia, Canada
Cap Badge : Black Watch of Canada
Places Served : 4 CIBG Soest and Werl 1957-1965, Camp Borden, Camp Gagetown
Registration date : 2009-06-04

The wall came tumbling down. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The wall came tumbling down.   The wall came tumbling down. Icon_minitime3/11/2009, 20:40

A few years back I fell into conversation in a hotel bar with a retired couple from Bernkastel/Rhine who were touring BC. In the course of the conversation I happened to bring up the subject of the former GDR.

It was like lighting a firecracker. The two of them exploded into a variety of invectives regarding the "lazy and non-productive 'Osties'" and how they were draining a once-prosperous West Germany. I quickly turned the subject to less volatile fare. ("So, what do you think of our beer?")

We've all heard how the west is propping up the east. However, wasn't that always the case? In addition to the well-publicized ransoms paid by the West German government for prisoner releases, there were things like the heavily-subsidized economic zone along the border to assist local residents who had lost their livelihood due to the loss of road and rail accesses cut by the GDR, and subsequent shut-down of many businesses. Also the economic subsidies inherent in allowing GDR goods into the west duty-free, the rationale being that since the GDR was not a legitimate sovereign nation there was in fact no border, hence no customs duties to pay. (This sat badly with other Common Market partners.) Also the huge costs in running refugee centres, etc.

In the early '80s National Geographic did a piece on the GDR in which the author stated that the two Germanies would never again re-unite succesfully - that too much time had passed. Was he right?
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ciphers
Maj Gen
Maj Gen
ciphers

Number of posts : 973
Age : 86
Localisation : Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada V2S 7C5
Cap Badge : Royal Signals
Places Served : Catterick (1951) - BAOR (1952 -1954)-(Herford - Bunde - Munster) - Japan (Kure) - Korea (Pusan - Seoul) - Cyprus (Nicosia) - Suez Op (1st Guards Brigade) - UK (63 Sigs Regt TA, Southampton)
Registration date : 2008-06-30

The wall came tumbling down. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The wall came tumbling down.   The wall came tumbling down. Icon_minitime3/11/2009, 20:55

Bernkastel, boy does that bring back some good memories of a great touring holiday from way back ... my best mate Brian and his wife Mavis, my wife Mary and me toured Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Rhine and Mosel valleys, visited that ugly broad 'the Lorelei', must have been dropped when she was wet .. now sadly both Brian and Mary have passed on and there is just Mavis and me, married and living in Canada...

Len (Ciphers)
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http://lenpayne.com/Len_Payne/Jim_Chapman.html
Teabag
Maj Gen
Maj Gen
Teabag

Number of posts : 960
Age : 70
Localisation : Merseyside
Cap Badge : Royal Signals
Places Served : Wildenrath Detmold
Registration date : 2008-10-30

The wall came tumbling down. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The wall came tumbling down.   The wall came tumbling down. Icon_minitime3/11/2009, 22:15

Visited some German friends in 1994 and expressed an interest in going to the former GDR. Being rich they had a very large motor home which we took plus towing a suzuki jeep for running around in.

Five years after the wall came down and of course it was chaos. Road works everywhere. Some industrial towns were so polluted you could taste the metal or whatever it was in the air. Some buildings still pockmarked with bullet holes from the war. Some people giving you daggers because they saw you were from the West. Trabbies all over the place polluting.

Asked various people where the restaurants were and got blank looks but to be fair it probably was a stupid question at the time. Visited Colditz and it was like stepping back into the 1940's and not just the castle. Museum was good but small and the young lady running it was quite stunning and very pleasant.

Went in a Saxon pub to eat and got rather drunk by which time we were conversing with the locals and able to understand each other quite well. Strange how good your language skills become when drunk! Smile

Quite small guy but massive across the chest got talking to us and I asked the question. "What was best, communism or now?" Communism was his reply. When I asked why, he said that under the communists, he earned a lot of money, much more than a doctor or similar. I asked what he did and he replied that he broke up sandstone with a sledge hammer all day to make sandpaper on piece work rates. Mind boggling but he was a decent bloke.

I do know that my western German friends despised the East one's and said they could actually tell them by the smell of their cheap sweaty clothes. The East Germans made a fortune when they reunified and were given a ridiculous exchange rate for what was a worthless currency. Lots of fiddles must have gone on.
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Stephen Lock
Maj Gen
Maj Gen
Stephen Lock

Number of posts : 937
Age : 66
Localisation : Calgary
Cap Badge : Pads Brat
Places Served : Father -- Canadian Army. Served Hemer, Soest, and Wetter
Registration date : 2007-12-28

The wall came tumbling down. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The wall came tumbling down.   The wall came tumbling down. Icon_minitime4/11/2009, 03:21

It is almost unbelievable it's been 20 years since the wall came down. Where did the time go?

Like Ian, my family and I were on our first tour in what was then W. Germany when the wall went up. I remember it well and the absolute chill/panic it sent reverberating through all of us, even though I was only 6 years old at the time. We were all on high alert.

I was safely ensconced back in Canada when the wall came down and remember watching people attack the wall with sledgehammers (so typically German....anything can be fixed with a sledgehammer) and dancing on top of the wall and of families seeing loved ones they had not seen, up close anyway, for decades. The hope was tangible.

However, as has been mentioned several times, it appears the coming down of the wall/re-unification has been, at best, a mixed blessing.

Certainly it appears "Osties" have benefited more from re-unification than Westies have and certainly the sudden and, apparently, uncurtailed influx of East Germans into the Federal Republic -- natural enough since they were now all one people -- heralded an unprecedented drain on the economy along with social upheaval/resentment.

In retrospect, I am not sure what Bonn (at that time) was thinking. Did it not occur to anyone that there would be a sudden and large influx of people from the economically depressed GDR into the 'streets-paved-with-gold' BDR? Did no one foresee issues with jobs, housing, social assistance, pensions, etc.?

Apparently not.

Twenty years on and the issues appear to still be unresolved with large numbers of former-GDR Germans consigned to what amounts to little more than ghettos. Re-unification did not include re-integration or even assimilation. I find that difficult to understand....

For instance, apparently the large Married Quarter area in Hemer with it's hundreds of flats, is now little more than a ghetto for "osties" and ethnically-German Russians and Yugoslavs and basically shunned by the rest of the town...more so than when the Canadians and British were housed there. We weren't so much shunned but I certainly would say we were not integrated into the civic life of Hemer (partly due to our own choices, I hasten to add).

Unlike us, those who currently lived in this siedlung are not major contributors to the local economy. In fact, from what I have been told by some correspondents I've communicated with in Hemer/Iserlohn, they tend more to be a drain to it.

Compounding this, I would suggest, is the whole other issue of 2nd and 3rd generation Turks, Northern Italians, Yugoslavs, Bulgarians, etc. who parents -- or in some cases grandparents -- were gastarbeiters. All the shit jobs were done by them but I have no doubt that when reunification occurred, gastarbeiters jealously guarded the jobs they had from the "osties." Or the 'osties', as a group, felt such menial and manual labour jobs as held by gastarbeiters were beneath them anyway; they, after all, were German!
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donald
WOI
WOI


Number of posts : 156
Age : 91
Cap Badge : 1st The Royal Dragoons - The Blues and Royals (RHG/D)
Places Served : UK,BOAR,Egypt
Registration date : 2008-04-04

The wall came tumbling down. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The wall came tumbling down.   The wall came tumbling down. Icon_minitime4/11/2009, 16:05

On the subject of Bernkastel I was there last week during a cruise on the Rhine and Mosel.Its still a beautiful place,and the wine puts a good colour to it.
One of the sore points with the ex commies from the East is unemployment.Under Honecker everyone had a job,everyone had a cheap place to live,and every child had a free place in the local kindergarten.But the envirement was in a shocking state,you produced what you were told to produce(did not dare to produce more)a certain number,and you spun out the day just making your quota.But by all accounts things are changing,albeit slowly,and in ten years equality,East and West,will prevail!
A visit to some of the ex DDR cities is a must,we did a week in Dresden,a beautiful place,liked it better than Vienna.
------
Don
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Goldmohur
WOII
WOII


Number of posts : 93
Age : 79
Localisation : Doncaster
Cap Badge : RAOC
Places Served : Gutersloh, Duisburg, Bracht, Rheindahlen. Also Non BAOR, Blackdown, Corsham. Shoeburyness, Ty Croes, Aden, Bicester.
Registration date : 2007-03-10

The wall came tumbling down. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The wall came tumbling down.   The wall came tumbling down. Icon_minitime4/11/2009, 16:29

I was in 36 GW Regt (AA) RA at Shoeburyness Essex and we were hurriedly moved to BAOR in Sep 61 together with other RA Regiments as the British response to the building of the Wall. We went firstly to Gutersloh and then the Duisburg where we stayed.
We were jeered in Dunkirk, welcomed warmly in Belgium and greeted with stony silence when we drove through the streets in Germany.

Reunification was the top of the manifesto list ofpoliticalparties at election time and we thought at the time that this would never ever happen. The West Germans had no choice but to do what they did to fund and welcome the East Germans from 1989.
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The wall came tumbling down. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The wall came tumbling down.   The wall came tumbling down. Icon_minitime4/11/2009, 20:29

Goldmohur-Please excuse my ignorance but does the GW bit refer to guided weapons The wall came tumbling down. Icon_question
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Paul
Maj Gen
Maj Gen


Number of posts : 817
Age : 68
Localisation : Limavady, N.I.
Cap Badge : R.E.M.E.
Places Served : Arborfield (Basic training), S.E.M.E. Bordon (Trade training), Barnard Castle, Hemer, Belfast (Emergency Tour), Londonderry, Munster, Brunei, Hong Kong
Registration date : 2008-04-06

The wall came tumbling down. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The wall came tumbling down.   The wall came tumbling down. Icon_minitime4/11/2009, 20:54

Chemist wrote:
Goldmohur-Please excuse my ignorance but does the GW bit refer to guided weapons The wall came tumbling down. Icon_question

Most serpently Very Happy

Paul.
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The wall came tumbling down. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The wall came tumbling down.   The wall came tumbling down. Icon_minitime4/11/2009, 21:31

Paul wrote:
Chemist wrote:
Goldmohur-Please excuse my ignorance but does the GW bit refer to guided weapons The wall came tumbling down. Icon_question

Most serpently Very Happy

Paul.

Bloodhounds The wall came tumbling down. Bom ?
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Paul
Maj Gen
Maj Gen


Number of posts : 817
Age : 68
Localisation : Limavady, N.I.
Cap Badge : R.E.M.E.
Places Served : Arborfield (Basic training), S.E.M.E. Bordon (Trade training), Barnard Castle, Hemer, Belfast (Emergency Tour), Londonderry, Munster, Brunei, Hong Kong
Registration date : 2008-04-06

The wall came tumbling down. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The wall came tumbling down.   The wall came tumbling down. Icon_minitime4/11/2009, 21:35

Chemist wrote:
Paul wrote:
Chemist wrote:
Goldmohur-Please excuse my ignorance but does the GW bit refer to guided weapons The wall came tumbling down. Icon_question

Most serpently Very Happy

Paul.

Bloodhounds The wall came tumbling down. Bom ?

36 Regiment R.A. were equipped with Thunderbird Mk 1, upgrading to Mk 2.

http://baor-locations.com/GlamorganBarracksHistory.aspx and scroll down to near the bottom.

Paul.
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Goldmohur
WOII
WOII


Number of posts : 93
Age : 79
Localisation : Doncaster
Cap Badge : RAOC
Places Served : Gutersloh, Duisburg, Bracht, Rheindahlen. Also Non BAOR, Blackdown, Corsham. Shoeburyness, Ty Croes, Aden, Bicester.
Registration date : 2007-03-10

The wall came tumbling down. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The wall came tumbling down.   The wall came tumbling down. Icon_minitime5/11/2009, 14:02

Yes, Guided Weapons. Later we were re named 36 HyAD Regt RA. Thunderbird Mk1 was the weapon. We thought we were the cat`s whiskers. There were also 2 Lt AD Regiments shipped over in the same period from UK.

Also whilst mentioning our reception in France, Belgium and Germany I should add that in UK our move aroused utter indifference except to us. We exchanged a Victorian slum of a barracks to 1930`s German, by comparison, luxury accommodation.
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Hardrations
Let Gen
Let Gen
Hardrations

Number of posts : 1049
Localisation : Winnipeg Manitoba Canada
Cap Badge : RC Sigs (RTG Op) / CF Logistics (Cook)
Places Served : Germany, Egypt, Cyprus, CFS Alert and some other strange places
Registration date : 2007-12-16

The wall came tumbling down. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The wall came tumbling down.   The wall came tumbling down. Icon_minitime6/11/2009, 00:15

My wife's uncle was at the border when the wall came down. It just happened that they were down the area where he had been wounded on his retreat . The town was just across the border in E-Germany. So seeing as they could freely move across the border in they went (most assuredly he wouldn't have attempted this in DDR days). He said the town was just as he remembered it, in 1945. Down to the paint ( what was left) on the buildings.

In 2007 my wife and I finally got to Berlin. So we went off to Check Point Charlie to see the site and the museum there. As my wife was looking across the street to what would have been East Berlin, she suddenly bolted across the street and muttered something about I have to go. I ran over behind her and asked her what the matter was, she was peering back into what was West Berlin, looked around some more at East Berlin, smiled gently and with a far away look in her eyes said, " They can't touch me now". Amazing what can stick in a not quite two (2) year old mind, to come popping out 62 years later. Yes she was refuge in that time and there was some adventure in getting to the west.
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PostSubject: Re: The wall came tumbling down.   The wall came tumbling down. Icon_minitime

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