17. Jul 2012 | Images © Avant Verlag / Susanne Buddenberg, Thomas Henseler |
The Berlin Wall is a topic everyone has heard of – more or less. Apart from what I knew from school classes and personal experience – growing up in West Germany – I came across it a few years ago while participating in the production of a documentary. A book featuring unbelievable stories founded on detailed research concerning the construction of this absurd monument as well as the personal and political consequences it triggered. Two other writers/artists – Susanne Buddenberg and Thomas Henseler – have now adapted a selection of historical events into a comic book. They went to great lenghts to do thorough research, talking to contemporary witnesses and documenting their stories. Stories about a time that really isn't that long past, but still seems long gone now. People tried to leave their country – former GDR –, by using forged passports. Some ventured other ways and died in the attempt. And still: quite a few made it, sometimes under adventurous circumstances. The comic book funded by the Federal Foundation for the Reappraisal of the SED Dictatorship tells about these events, shows every day life in the former GDR, recounts personal stories and takes its readers to original locations like "Bahnhof Friedrichstraße", "Bernauer Straße", "Wilhelmstraße", "Brandenburger Tor" and former checkpoint "Bornholmer Straße". Thankfully the book is published in German and English – a rare phenomenon in the German comic book industry – which we probably owe to the fact that busloads of English speaking tourists visit these historcal Berlin sites daily and are sometimes quite shocked to find out: "The Wall – it's gone!"