25 years of unity

Cake made for the class celebration by Sophomore's Isaac Moore's mother.

Cake made for the class celebration by Sophomore’s Isaac Moore’s mother.

Recently, Mrs. Karin Kraeling’s German classes took a step back from their usual agenda and took the time to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the demolition of the Berlin Wall. The festivities were topped with cake and snacks and the students took advantage of the laid-back atmosphere. For Mrs. Kraeling and millions of people around the world, this anniversary means much more than a day off of class.

In 1961, East Germany and West Berlin decided to physically divide the once symbolic area that separated the land into two areas. The two divisions had brutally different political opinions, and out of frustration and anger, they decided to become two separate nations. Much of this tension was a cause of World War II and other related events.

One of the many people who have a deep emotional connection to the demolition of the Wall is Elder’s new German and Spanish teacher, Mrs. Kraeling. Mrs. Kraeling grew up in Mexico under the wing of two German parents. While in Mexico, she attended a German private school and grew up in a heavily Germanic atmosphere which is why German Unity Day  is so special to her.

“Unlike many other countries, Germany does not celebrate many national hoidays,” Mrs. Kraeling explained. “The closed thing they have to an Independence day is German Unity Day [celebrated] every October 3 where the whole country celebrates the breaking of the wall.”

The Wall not only separated the two areas, but also created a barrier between families and friends. Citizens of Germany that lived on contrasting sides of the wall were forced to wait an excruciating 28 years to be able to see their loved ones once again.

“[While the wall was up] you were allowed to cross, but they would have heavy security,” Mrs. Kraeling said. “East Germany even hired spies just to see if people had too much contact with the other side and if they thought someone might plan on trying to escape.”

While one side continued to develop, the other side seemed to stay in the 60s.”

— Mrs. Karin Kraeling

Unfortunately for the stability of what was formally known as “East Germany”, the area is still recovering from how “behind the times” the area once was.

“While one side continued to develop, the other side seemed to stay in the 60s,” said Mrs. Kraeling. “The average citizens on the East side also were treated differently than who they considered important, like athletes or celebrities. West Germany was a lot less strict with that kind of stuff.”

While the demolition of the Berlin Wall may not be quite as notorious in the United States as it is in Germany, the emotional symbol behind it creates a unique vibe that marks an end to an era of separation from the Soviet Union’s grasp. It is a national moment that shows that justice and unity have triumphed over deception and corruption.