Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, May 1991
Following the success of the “Degenerate Art” exhibition, I traveled to Germany in May 1991 courtesy of Lufthansa Airlines, a major sponsor of the show. Less than two years after the “fall” of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, I was standing on the east side of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
Berlin Wall, 1991
Most of the Berlin Wall was still standing in 1991. I took this photo as I walked to Checkpoint Charlie. Note the caricature of Adolf Hitler.
Checkpoint Charlie and Trabant automobile, 1991
Checkpoint Charlie was the crossing between East Berlin and West Berlin for foreigners and diplomats during the Cold War. The Trabant was an automobile manufactured in East Germany that had a hard plastic body and two-cylinder engine.
Building facade in former East Berlin, 1991
There was renovation and new construction for about 500 yards beyond Checkpoint Charlie. But beyond that little had changed. I took this photo of a building in former East Berlin that showed damage from the Battle of Berlin fought by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Red Army in 1945 during WWII. The Mercedes-Benz parked in front was probably an uncommon sight prior to 1989.
Building facade in former East Berlin (Detail), 1991
This is a detail of the photo to the left. Many of the buildings I saw in former East Berlin in 1991 had damage like this from WWII. Note the pock marks in the facade, which were likely created by machine gun fire or shrapnel from artillery or tank fire during the Battle of Berlin in 1945.