It was still dark, and the city was silent with the deep sleep of the predawn hour. An occasional swish of tires and roar of a motor were the only noises except for the barking of a dog. We were waiting for dawn, for the first grey light in which to see the Berlin Wall. Guards in the watch towers were wide awake, scanning the strip of dirt filled with barbed-wire traps and sharp spikes at any likely spot for jumping. Police dogs kept noses and ears alert as they paced in the strip like lions in cages. As the sky suddenly lightened and shapes emerged from the darkness, we saw a milk wagon with a tired-looking woman delivering her morning burden, and a man riding off on a bicycle. Lights appeared in first one window and then another—on the other side of the wall.
A wall? A wall in name and in fact, but one strange in construction. Pathetic remains of houses, only the first floor now, and uninhabited because of the many who jumped out of windows trying to escape, and pathetic remains of stores with bricked-up or boarded-up windows—these houses and stores are the wall. They had been inhabited for a time, their inhabitants walled in and walled out by what had been their own precious walls. Crosses and placards marked spots on the sidewalk of the West side where people had died. One eighty-seven-year-old woman had jumped in desperation to get out—out to the other side of the wall, out of her home that had suddenly become a prison. Curtains still fluttered in the windows of what had been her house.
The Berlin Wall. What a constant demonstration of man’s inability in all his pride and power to bring about freedom and justice in what people so long have spoken of as “the civilized world.” Man cannot even tear down a wall of feeble ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 63+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more