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Behind the Berlin Wall

The Story

Seven years after it was built, the Berlin Wall has become a fact of life for Berliners. In the West, however, the wall is still the focus of intense curiosity. How does it feel to live behind the wall? Do people have the same interests? What is daily life there really like?It's not easy for a CBC crew to get into East Berlin, and it's almost as hard to find someone who will speak openly before the camera. But Edith, a translator who will only use her first name, freely describes student life, food, lodging and shopping in East Berlin. On the whole, she says, she's satisfied with her daily life - though it bothers her that she can't travel abroad except to other Eastern bloc nations. 

Medium: Television
Program: Through the Eyes of Tomorrow
Broadcast Date: June 9, 1968
Guests: Sarah Haffner, Edith K., Hans Kroener, John Peet
Hosts: Bill Craig, Fred Harris
Reporter: Charles Wasserman
Duration: 26:05

Did You know?

• Until travel restrictions were slightly liberalized in 1972, East Germans could only travel to fellow communist bloc nations. They were compelled to organize their vacations in advance through the Free German Trade Union Organization and often had no say in where they went, ending up in the mountains instead of the seaside they preferred.

• In 1972 Germans living in the border zones on each side were given the right to apply for travel without any particular reason to the border zone on the other side.


• The Brandenburg Gate, seen in this clip, is one of Berlin's most recognizable landmarks. Located just over the border in East Berlin, it was sealed off when the wall went up but remained the site of demonstrations and public gatherings in West Berlin.


• In many cases, families were separated when the wall went up. Stories abound of young parents on one side holding up babies for grandparents on the other side to see. 



The Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall more