Scenes from Behind the Wall: Images of East Germany, 1989/90

1989 the Berlin Wall by Peter Millar
Call Number: PR6113.I55 Z46 2009
ISBN: 9781906413477
Publication Date: 2010-04-01
Peter Millar was literally caught in the middle of the fall of the Berlin Wall, between bemused East German border guards and drunk western revelers prematurely celebrating the end of an era. This is his story of an event that changed history.


After the Berlin Wall by Katharina Gerstenberger; Jana Evans Braziel (Editor); Katharina Gerstenberger (Editor)
Call Number: DD290.29 .A35 2011
ISBN: 9780230111929
Publication Date: 2011-10-15
After the Berlin Wall: Germany and Beyond explores historical, cultural, political, and literary dimensions of the fall of the Berlin Wall and its aftermath both in Germany and internationally.


The Fall of the GDR by David Childs
Call Number: DD289 .C45 2001
ISBN: 0582315689
Publication Date: 2001-01-01
Focusing on the momentous events of 1989-90, this review of the collapse of the GDR uses first-hand interview material with a number of the leading figures to provide a detailed account and analysis of the collapse of East Germany.


The Politics of Memory by Jane Kramer
Call Number: DD290.24 .K7 1996
ISBN: 0679448721
Publication Date: 1996-10-01
In this illuminating, beautifully written collection of essays, the acclaimed New Yorker writer reports on the zeitgeist of reunified Germany. Jane Kramer surveys the fraught moral and political landscape of today’s Germany, where the reunification of East and West has brought into conflict two vastly different memories of what it means to “be German.”


Representing East Germany since Unification by Paul Cooke
Call Number: DD 289.5 .C66 2005
ISBN: 1845201884
Publication Date: 2005-10-07
Taking culture as broadly defined, this book examines state memorialization, literature, television, film, and the internet, to map out the problematic path of German national identity as it struggles to deal with the legacy of division.


After the Wall by Patricia J. Smith (Editor)
Call Number: DD 289.5 .A38 1998
ISBN: 0813332095
Publication Date: 1998-07-02
One of the few English-language books to concentrate on how unification has affected eastern Germany and East Germans, After the Wall: Eastern Germany Since 1989 addresses impacts on East German society, including elites, workers, and women.


The East German Revolution of 1989 by Gareth Dale
Call Number: DD 289 .D25 2006
ISBN: 0719074770
Publication Date: 2007-05-15
This book offers a new account of the East German Revolution of 1989 and uncovers hitherto neglected events and phases of this tumultuous period.


Berlin Journal, 1989-1990 by Robert Darnton
Call Number: DD 289 .D27 1993
ISBN: 0393310183
Publication Date: 1993-07-17
Darnton gives us a memorable cast of characters, from two experts on the repair of broken-down Trabis to the environmental councilor for the polluted city of Bitterfeld, and Isaak Behar, a Jew who managed to survive the Holocaust while hiding in wartime Berlin. With wit and insight Darnton takes us behind the scenes to meet “ordinary people grappling with great change, humanizing history.”


Contentious Memories by Jost Hermand (Editor); Marc Silberman (Editor)
Call Number: DD 287.3 .C66 1998
ISBN: 082043843X
Publication Date: 1998-02-01
“Who is remembering the German Democratic Republic, and how do they go about it? This volume of “contentious memories” brings together essays and critical responses in a look back at three aspects of GDR studies.


Quality of Life in the German Democratic Republic by Marilyn Rueschemeyer (Editor); Christiane Lemke (Editor)
Call Number: DD 287.3 .Q35 1989
ISBN: 9780873324847
Publication Date: 1989-01-01
Published simultaneously as Vol. 18, nos. 3 and 4 of International journal of sociology. To complement studies of East Germany that center on the state, examines social structures, institutions and processes of daily life, including families, schools, neighborhoods, workplaces, churches, and leisure.


Rise and Fall of the German Democratic Republic 1945-1990 by J. M. Dennis; Mike Dennis
Call Number: DD 286.4 .D46 2000
ISBN: 9780582245624
Publication Date: 2000-11-27
This new book investigates communist rule in East Germany from its establishment as a sphere of Soviet influence after World War II to its rapid collapse after the fall of the Berlin Wall.


Germany East by Bruce Allen
Call Number: DD 284 .A44 1989
ISBN: 0921689322
Publication Date: 1989-03-01


Uprising in East Germany 1953 by Malcom Byrne (Editor); Christian F. Ostermann (Editor)
Call Number: DD 286.2 .U67 2001
ISBN: 9639241172
Publication Date: 2003-01-01
The volume is the first documented account of this early Cold War crisis from both sides of the Iron Curtain.


Twenty Years On by Renate Rechtien (Editor); Dennis Tate (Editor)
Call Number: DD 281.6 .T94 2011
ISBN: 9781571135032
Publication Date: 2011-12-15
Twenty years on from the dramatic events that led to the opening of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the GDR, the subjective dimension of German unification is still far from complete. The nature of the East German state remains a matter of cultural as well as political debate. This volume of new research focuses on competing memories of the GDR and the ways they have evolved in the mass media, literature, and film since 1989-90.


Call Number: DD 262 .W44 1990
ISBN: 9783875843378
Publication Date: 1990


Call Number: DD 258.5 .C55 2013
ISBN: 9780857459589
Publication Date: 2013-09-15
1945 to 1980 marks an extensive period of mass migration of students, refugees, ex-soldiers, and workers from an extraordinarily wide range of countries to West Germany. Turkish, Kurdish, and Italian groups have been studied extensively, and while this book uses these groups as points of comparison, it focuses on ethnic communities of varying social structures-from Spain, Iran, Ukraine, Greece, Croatia, and Algeria.


The Path to the Berlin Wall by Manfred Wilke
Call Number: DD 257.25 .W47913 2014
ISBN: 9781782382881
Publication Date: 2014-04-15
Manfred Wilke draws on recently published conversations between Khrushchev and Walter Ulbricht, head of the East German state, in order to reconstruct the coordination process between these two leaders and the events that led to building the Berlin Wall.


From the Bonn to the Berlin Republic by Eric Langenbacher (Editor); Jeffrey Anderson (Editor)
Call Number: DD 290.26 .F76 2010
ISBN: 9780857452214
Publication Date: 2010-10-15
Surprisingly little research has been carried out about how Australian Aboriginal children and teenagers experience life, shape their social world and imagine the future. This volume presents recent and original studies of life experiences outside the institutional settings of childcare and education, of those growing up in contemporary Central Australia or with strong links to the region.


Debating German Cultural Identity Since 1989 by Anne Fuchs (Editor); Kathleen James-Chakraborty (Editor); Linda Shortt (Editor)
Call Number: DD 290.26 .D33 2011
ISBN: 9781571134868
Publication Date: 2011-12-01
This dynamic, contested, and still ongoing transformation of German cultural identity is the topic of this volume of new essays by scholars from the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, and Ireland. It explores German cultural identity by way of a range of disciplines including history, film studies, architectural history, literary criticism, memory studies, and anthropology, avoiding a homogenized interpretation.


The German Wall by Marc Silberman (Editor)
Call Number: DD 290.26 .G474 2011
ISBN: 9780230112162
Publication Date: 2011-03-15
This book examines the consequences of the fall of the Wall: the physical barrier, its demise, and how it has been mediated in film and television; how the city and nation that had been torn asunder now struggle to reunite; how old and new minorities are being socially and politically integrated; and how a new European identity emerges in the post-Wall era.


Dealing with the Devil by M. E. Sarotte
Call Number: DD 288 .S27 2001
ISBN: 0807825999
Publication Date: 2001-04-16
Using new archival sources–including previously secret documents of the East German secret police and Communist Party–M. E. Sarotte goes behind the scenes of Cold War Germany during the era of detente, as East and West tried negotiation instead of confrontation to settle their differences.


Voices in Times of Change by David Rock
Call Number: DD 287.3 .V65 2000
ISBN: 1571819592
Publication Date: 2001-09-01
Taking an interdisciplinary approach, this volume offers an overview of the role of writers, intellectuals, citizens, and the churches both before, but particularly after, 1989 in the GDR and the new Germany.


The Spiegel Affair by David Schoenbaum
Call Number: DD 259.2 .S375
Publication Date: 1968


Germany’s New Position in Europe by Arnulf Baring (Editor)
Call Number: DD259.25 .C85 1996
ISBN: 1859730965
Publication Date: 1994-10-04
The authors ask: – Does Germany need a new foreign policy? Have her priorities changed in the light of the end of the Cold War? – Does Germany need to define her own national interests rather than identifying herself with the European Union?


The General Was a Spy: The Truth About General Gehlen and His Spy Ring by Heinz Höhne; Hermann Zolling
Call Number: DD 259.2 .Z6313 1972
ISBN: 0698104307
Publication Date: 1972


At the Creation of a New Germany by George McGhee
Call Number: DD 259.4 .M36 1989
ISBN: 0300042507
Publication Date: 1989-09-10


State and Minorities in Communist East Germany by Mike Dennis; Norman LaPorte
Call Number: DD 281 .D46 2011
ISBN: 9780857451958
Publication Date: 2011-08-15
Based on interviews and the voluminous materials in the archives of the SED, the Stasi and central and regional authorities, this volume focuses on several contrasting minorities (Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jews, ‘guest’ workers from Vietnam and Mozambique, football fans, punks, and skinheads) and their interaction with state and party bodies during Erich Honecker’s rule over the communist system.


The East German Dictatorship by Corey Ross
Call Number: DD 283 .R67 2002
ISBN: 0340762659
Publication Date: 2002-06-13
Taking readers to the heart of the principal debates about the GDR, and analysing them with refreshing clarity and incisiveness, this book will be essential reading for those studying the GDR or post-war German history.


Repression and Resistance in Communist Europe by J. C. Sharman
Call Number: HX 240.7 .A6 S53 2003
ISBN: 0415306698
Publication Date: 2003-08-19
Looking in detail at Soviet collectivisation in 1928-34, the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 and the Polish Solidarity Movement of 1980-84, it shows how the system excluded channels to enable popular grievances to be translated into collective opposition; how this lessened the amount of popular protest, affected the nature of such protest as did occur and entrenched the dominance of state over society.


Reflections on the Revolutions in Europe by Ralf Dahrendorf (Introduction by)
Call Number: HX 240.7 .A6 D34 2005
ISBN: 0765808285
Publication Date: 2004-12-01
Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, which includes a new introduction from the author, is a humane, skeptical, and anti-utopian work, a manifesto for a radical liberalism in which the social entitlements of citizenship are as important a condition of progress as the opportunities for choice.


The Wall Came Tumbling Down by Jerry Bornstein
Call Number: HX240.7.A6 B67 1990
ISBN: 9780517033067
Publication Date: 1990-03-14
A concise history with photographs of the events that led to the opening of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.
West European Communist Parties after the Revolutions of 1989 by Martin J. Bull (Editor); Paul M. Heywood (Editor)
Call Number: HX239 .W46 1994
ISBN: 0312122683
Publication Date: 1994-12-15
The chapters in this volume analyse the differing reactions of communist parties in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Britain and Germany to the challenges posed by the disintegration of the communist empire.
The Primacy of Politics by Sheri E. Berman
Call Number: HX 239 .B47 2006
ISBN: 9780521817998
Publication Date: 2006-08-07
Berman looks at the history of social democracy from its origins in the late nineteenth century to today and shows how it beat out competitors such as classical liberalism, orthodox Marxism, and its cousins, Fascism and National Socialism by solving the central challenge of modern politics – reconciling the competing needs of capitalism and democracy.


The Failure of West European Communism by Frank L. Wilson
Call Number: HX238.5 .W55 1993
ISBN: 1557781532
Publication Date: 1993-01-01


The Demise of Communist East Europe by Robin Okey
Call Number: HX 240.7 .O555 2004
ISBN: 0340740566
Publication Date: 2004-05-28
This book charts the demise of east European communism and analyses the failure of the communist experiment, the revolutionary events of 1989 and the post-communist aftermath as the legacy of both these processes.


Communism Unwrapped by Paulina Bren (Editor); Mary Neuburger (Editor)
Call Number: HX 240.7 .A6 C576 2012
ISBN: 9780199827671
Publication Date: 2012-09-06
Communism Unwrapped is a collection of essays that unwraps the complex world of consumption under communism in postwar Eastern Europe, featuring new work by both American and European scholars writing from variety of disciplinary perspectives.


Call Number: HX 240.7 .A6 E87 1997
ISBN: 0813389976
Publication Date: 1997-01-02
The collaborative effort of scholars from Russia and the United States, this book reevaluates the history of postwar Eastern Europe from 1944 to 1949, incorporating information gleaned from newly opened archives in Eastern Europe.
The Fall of Communism and the Rise of Nationalism by Ruth Petrie
Call Number: HX 240.7 .A6 F35 1997
ISBN: 0304339385
Publication Date: 1997-06-01
To celebrate 25 years of Index on Censorship, this collection has been brought together in one volume to portray the happenings that have taken place in the former Communist areas of Europe.


Eastern Europe Since 1945 by Geoffrey Swain; Nigel Swain
Call Number: HX 240.7 .A6 S93 1998
ISBN: 0312216904
Publication Date: 1999-01-01
Substantially expanded and revised to include the momentous changes that have taken place since the first edition, in this new edition Geoffrey and Nigel Swain have abandoned their specialised research fields, Yugoslavia and Hungary respectively, to write a comprehensive history of Eastern Europe since 1945.


Looking Left by Donald Sassoon (Editor)
Call Number: HX 238.5 L66 1997
ISBN: 1565844289
Publication Date: 1998-04-15
In Looking Left, a distinguished group of European historians tackles these questions, examining the extent to which the end of the Cold War has contributed to the redefinition of left-wing strategy and goals and the extent of the convergence between “right” and “left.”


The New European Left by Kate Hudson
Call Number: HX 238.5 H83 2012
ISBN: 9780230248762
Publication Date: 2012-07-17
Hudson explores the development of communists and other left forces, charting their survival and renewal after 1989. She shows how an open and democratic form of socialism has emerged which embraces environmental, gender and anti-war politics.
Art in Berlin, 1815-1989 by High Museum of Art Staff
Call Number: N6885 .A77 1989
ISBN: 0939802600
Publication Date: 1990-01-01
Published on the occasion of an exhibition held Nov. 14, 1989-Jan. 14, 1990.
Berlin Art 1961-1987 by Kynaston McShine; Rene Block; Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) Staff (Contribution by); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Staff (Contribution by)
Call Number: N6885 .B47 1987
ISBN: 0870702564
Publication Date: 1987-01-01
Art of Two Germanys – Cold War Cultures by Stephanie Barron; Sabine Eckmann; Eckhart Gillen
Call Number: N 6868 .A745 2009
ISBN: 9780810984042
Publication Date: 2009-02-01
Throughout the Cold War, the creation and reception of art in Germany was inseparably linked to divided political realities. Artists in East and West Germany redeployed the traditions of abstraction and realism in new national and international contexts, creating a wide range of powerful artworks, often responding to popular culture and technologies of reproduction.
German Art of the Late 1980s by Jürgen Harten; David A. Ross (Editor); Jürg Altwegg (Introduction by); Dietmar Kamper (Introduction by)
Call Number: N 6868 .B57 1988
ISBN: 3770123026
Publication Date: 1988-01-01
Catalog of the exhibition held Sept. 24-Nov. 27, 1988 in Düsseldorf and organized by the Städtische Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen and the Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, and in Boston, Dec. 16-Jan. 29, 1989, under the auspices of the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Fine Arts and published in companion volumes.
Modern Art at the Berlin Wall by Claudia Mesch
Call Number: N 6868 .M36 2008
ISBN: 9781845118082
Publication Date: 2009-03-15
At the height of the Cold War, art produced in divided Germany contested the cultural demarcation of East and West. Here Claudia Mesch shows how a wide group of artists struggled to take visual art beyond the crude separations of the “Iron Curtain,” and to transcend the first global cultural divide of the twentieth century.
Specific Object
Kunst in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, 1945-1985 by Honisch, Dieter; Grisebach, Lucius; Schweinebraden, Jürgen; Nationalgalerie (Germany : West)
Call Number: N 6868 .K786 1985
ISBN: 3875841581
Publication Date: 1985
Exhibition was held Sept. 27, 1985-Jan. 21, 1986 in the National-galerie, Staatliche Museen, Preussischer Kulturbesitz.
Stephan Balkenhol : balanceakt by Diekmann, Kai; Zauritz, Frank; Fest, Nicolaus; Winzen, Matthias
Call Number: NB 588 .B324 A4 2010
ISBN: 9783940953353
Publication Date: 2010
Published as a documentation of Stephan Balkenhol’s sculpture project entitled Balanceakt (’Balancing Act’), inaugurated on May 25, 2009 in front of the Axel Springer Building on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The Berlin Wall Book by Hermann Waldenburg
Call Number: ND 2751 .B4 W35 1990
ISBN: 1558591311
Publication Date: 1990-06-01
Caught by Karl G. Kuehn
Call Number: TR 73.1 .K84 1997
ISBN: 0520204360
Publication Date: 1997-12-31
Caught offers the first in-depth appraisal of the artistic, social, and political evolution of the GDR through the eyes of the participating photographers. It is an intimate portrayal of a people “caught” in the conflicting dictates of ideology, artistic oppression, a troubled national past, and basic human desires.
Wilhelm Schürmann: Road Map to Happiness by Gabriele Conrath-Scholl (Text by); Wilhelm Schurmann (Photographer)
Call Number: TR 647 .S3945 2012
ISBN: 9783775733090
Publication Date: 2012-11-30
Wilhelm Schürmann (born 1946) took the photographs in Road Map to Happiness between 1979 and 1981, on the street on which he grew up in the city of Dortmund, Germany. Published here for the first time, Schürmann’s black-and-white images of storefront displays and living rooms present a funny and moving portrait of postwar Germany.
89/90 by Michael Schmidt
Call Number: TR 647 .S35 2010
ISBN: 3940953431
Publication Date: 2010

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Scenes from Behind the Wall: Images of East Germany, 1989/90
Map of the Berlin Wall, showing checkpoints, from

About the Collection

Photographers Helmut Brinkmann and Page Chichester traveled throughout East Germany photographing people and cities. The two men produced a series of starkly sensitive works that capture a nation at an important crossroads. The faces of eager young children contrast with bleak, hard-edged architecture. Hands firmly chipping away at the Wall proclaim a hope that supersedes the oppression and endless isolation of smoke-obscured skylines.

The works in this exhibition underline the power of photography to mirror man’s actions, providing passionate and truthful images that sharpen our awareness, awaken our consciences, move our hearts, challenge our minds, and nurture our souls. Helmut Brinkmann and Page Chichester would surely agree with renowned photographer Edward Steichen’s musings on his ninetieth birthday:  “When I first became interested in photography…my idea was to have it recognized as one of the fine arts. Today I don’t give a hoot about that. The mission of photography is to explain man to man and each man to himself. And that is the most complicated thing on earth and also as naïve as a tender plant.”

This collection was shown throughout Virginia as part of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Statewide Exhibition Program from 1995 through 2009. The exhibit was also shown at the Jacksonville Center for the Arts in Floyd, Virginia, in February 2012.

All photographs in the exhibition are from the collection of George Mason University Libraries and housed in Special Collections & Archives.

Finding Aid 

Digitized Collection


Photographs featured in exhibit:



13 August 1961. The East German government surprised the world when it began the construction of a concrete wall topped with barbed wire to divide East Berlin from West Berlin. East Germans who sought to escape by tunneling under or climbing over the wall risked death for the crime of “flight from the Republic.” The surrounding East German countryside was also cut off from West Berlin by an electrical fence guarded from watchtowers with searchlights.

9 November 1989. East Berlin television stations carried an announcement on the evening news: citizens were free to leave. East Germans could travel to the West. The cage door of the world’s largest prison—the German Democratic Republic—had sprung open. The Berlin Wall was being torn down.

29 December 1989. Two photographers—one West German, one American—loaded a Volkswagen bus with supplies and crossed the border into East Germany. The friends spent eight days—from just after Christmas until just after New Year’s—among people whose nation had virtually stood still while its Western twin, the Federal Republic of Germany, prospered.


About the Artists

Helmut Brinkmann was born in 1951 in Duisburg, part of the coal-mining region (“Ruhr Pot”) of the former West Germany. He has been a professional photographer since 1979.

In addition to his commercial, portrait, and architectural photography, he has exhibited numerous projects in Duisburg, Hamburg, Bonn, Greece, and Spain. In 1972 Brinkmann won the prestigious Bundesfotopreis (National Photo Award). A series of his hand-colored postcards was published as a book, Verwandlungen (Changes), by one of Germany’s foremost art publishers, DuMont Verlag. He was among the photographers chosen for the 1991 exhibit Five Bonn Photographers, is a member of the Bundesverband Bildender Künstler (National Association of Artists) and is listed in the Bonn Artists Directory. His work has been published in Stern, Die Welt, and other major magazines and newspapers, and he has taught photography for several years in high schools in and around Bonn.

Brinkmann has traveled extensively through the former East Germany since 1989.

Page Chichester was born in New Jersey in 1959 and grew up in rural Culpeper, Virginia. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

After a two-year stint as photo editor at a wildlife-conservation magazine in Washington, D.C., he spent five years in West Germany, where he worked as a freelance photographer. He returned to Washington, D.C., in 1990 to work as a photojournalist for the National Audubon Society’s television productions department, photographing four books including one on the African elephant. He then became editor of Virginia magazine, formerly Virginia Southwest. He freelanced in Roanoke, Virginia, for several years before moving to Bonn, Germany, with his family. The tides of change have swept them to Berlin, and today, Chichester is part of the subcontracted photography crew on various cruise ships.

Chichester’s photography has appeared in museums and galleries in Athens, Berlin, Bonn, Washington, D.C., and Virginia, as well as in state, regional, and national publications.


Events Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall



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25 Years Later

Yesterday and Today: a look back at the Berlin Wall

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