Magnum photographer Thomas Hoepker discusses 40 years spent chronicling life in strange, sad, vicious and sometimes hilarious East Berlin.
The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin. It was officially referred to as the “Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart” by GDR authorities, implying that neighbouring West Germany had not been fully de-Nazified. The West Berlin city government sometimes referred to it as the “Wall of Shame” while condemning the Wall’s restriction on freedom of movement. Along with the separate and much longer Inner German border that demarcated the border between East and West Germany, both borders came to symbolize the “Iron Curtain” between Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc.
In 1989 a non-violent revolution overthrew the Communists. The Soviets refused to intervene, and the country soon reunited with West Germany and is now part of Germany.