Berlin - Two people rappel from a building at Hermannplatz, unveiling a huge photo. A soldier and a little boy stand on either side of barbed wire on the border between East and West Berlin. "A touching scene," says culture minister Klaus Lederer (Die Linke). Lederer atttended the unveiling with Axel Klausmeier from the Berlin Wall Foundation and Moritz van Dülmen, managing director of Kulturprojekte Berlin.

Thomas Meyer
Klaus Lederer, Axel Klausmeier and Moritz van Dülmen (from left) at Hermannplatz.

The Wall once stood near here too, on Sonnenallee, separating the two Berlins for 28 years. This Friday, exactly 60 years after the start of the construction of the Wall, billboards, large banners and signs on Litfaßsäulen (advertising pillars) will remind viewers of the suffering caused by the Wall. They show the bewilderment on both sides, the pain of separated families and risky escapes. The campaign uses a total of 10 images, hung throughout the city on banners between 40 and 180 square metres in size. More than 300 of will remain up until Sunday. "We want to bring remembrance into the city. The construction of the Wall changed everything and also affected the areas far away from the site of the Wall," says Moritz van Dülmen.

The large photos are tagged with QR codes to allow viewers to go to an augmented reality sequence that brings the pictures to life. The pictures on Litfaßsäulen stand in contrast to other historical photos. There are stories about the last chance to escape, the S-Bahn boycott, propaganda, forced evictions of buildings near the border and the Oberbaumbrücke as a symbol of division. The photos are deliberately black and white to catch people's attention, says Lederer.

Clemens Porikys
A Litfaßsäule on Ku'damm. 

The pandemic triggered the idea of replacing a central exhibition with one spread throughout the Hauptstadt, says Moritz van Dülmen. "The pictures create a little stumbling moment," he says. The commemorative project is an action of Kulturprojekte Berlin in cooperation with the Berlin Wall Foundation on the initiative of Klaus Lederer. It's funded by the Lotto Foundation Berlin.

Thomas Meyer
The cathedral got the perhaps most-famous photo of all from the time the Wall was built.

"The fact that we can live in freedom like this here in Berlin also has to do with the historical experience of the Wall," Lederer said.

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