The Berlin Wall, Our Family and Us | DocFilm | DW | 07.11.2020

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The Berlin Wall, Our Family and Us

What was life like in East Germany? How does the division of Germany still affect it even now? Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, there are still tangible differences between east and west. How do the younger generations see them?

Watch video 42:36

Siblings Franz Hildebrandt-Harangozó and Antonia Hildebrandt were born after the fall of the Berlin Wall and grew up in a reunified Germany. They study in Berlin and live not far from Bernauer Strasse, where the wall once divided the city. On weekends, they like to party at the nearby Mauerpark. Every Sunday people from all over the world come to the former death strip between East and West Berlin to enjoy an open-air festival with live music, a flea market and street artists. But the two young Berliners still feel that the wounds left by the Cold War division have not yet healed and want to find out why.

Their search for answers starts in their own family. Regine and Jörg Hildebrandt, Antonia and Franz´s grandparents, saw with their own eyes how the wall was built in 1961, right on their doorstep. But they made a conscious decision to stay in East Berlin. They wanted to change the country from the inside out. Frauke Hildebrandt, their mother, fled to West Germany in the summer of 1989, shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Grandmother Regine Hildebrandt became a politician after the fall of the Berlin Wall and tried to speak out for people from the former East.

But Antonia and Franz do not rely only on their family for information about the way the division of Germany influenced people from the former East Germany. They also travel around the eastern part of Germany themselves and see firsthand how the decadeslong schism is far from resolved.