Skip to main content

Our story begins in September 4, 1984, and is shared with us by Michael Bedwell. He and Leonard Matlovich were on a trip to Berlin, both West and East Berlin.  Just to refresh your memories, Berlin was a city divided then. Divided by the BERLIN WALL.

BERLIN WALL, l986

View from the West Berlin side of graffiti art on the wall in 1986. The wall's infamous "death strip", on the east side of the wall, here follows the curve of the long-terminated Luisenstadt Canal.
The Berlin Wall (German: Berliner Mauer) was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off (by land) West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin.[1] The barrier included guard towers placed along large concrete walls,[2] which circumscribed a wide area (later known as the "death strip") that contained anti-vehicle trenches, "fakir beds" and other defenses.
The Eastern Bloc claimed that the wall was erected to protect its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the "will of the people" in building a socialist state in East Germany. In practice, the Wall served to prevent the massive emigration and defection that marked Germany and the communist Eastern Bloc during the post-World War II period.
We find our protagonists in Communist East Berlin. 'Leonard Matlovich and I (Michael Bedwell) had gotten lost on its then very dark streets, and we needed to cross back into West Berlin through Checkpoint Charlie before the East German border guards had a hissy fit, as technically, you could be arrested for staying beyond the hours of your day pass. By chance, a young man named Wolfgang was also in the underground station, and we asked this stranger for directions.

He actually invited us back to his apartment. Where, after saying he believed the Wall would never open, he put his six-month old son, Markus, in my arms saying, “My son must have a chance to meet Americans.” And my heart has been hooked ever since.'

'Sadly, I’d used all the film I had, so have no photos documenting that priceless evening before Leonard and I had to run to make the exit deadline. Actually, I refused to run when I realized we could be literally shot by border guards mistaking us for East Berliners.'  

SEE the killing zone in the above picture. There were still people trying to cross at night etc, most unsuccessfully.

Happily there is a lot more to the story of Berlin and of 'the serendipitous godson' below the squiggle.

Lots happened after 1984... here is the Wall's late 80's history (from WIKI)

In 1989, a radical series of political changes occurred in the Eastern Bloc, associated with the liberalization of the Eastern Bloc's authoritarian systems and the erosion of political power in the pro-Soviet governments in nearby Poland and Hungary. After several weeks of civil unrest, the East German government announced on 9 November 1989 that all GDR citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin. Crowds of East Germans crossed and climbed onto the wall, joined by West Germans on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere. Over the next few weeks, a euphoric public and souvenir hunters chipped away parts of the wall; the governments later used industrial equipment to remove most of the rest. The physical Wall itself was primarily destroyed in 1990. The fall of the Berlin Wall paved the way for German reunification, which was formally concluded on 3 October 1990.
AND...'the summer after the Wall miraculously did fall in 1989, Wolfgang, Markus, and his Mother Silvia visited me in San Francisco.'  Leonard Matlovich as many know, died June 2, l988 of AIDS, the other late 80's 'event' so he was not present for this visit.

MBedwell 9-4-2012 - Version 3

Since that time relations with Germany have only improved...and Michael visited Berlin last month, August 2012.

Here is Markus now,' with his wonderful wife Susanne, and their daughter “Marta,” just a couple of months older than when he first held her Father that night of kismet long ago.'

MBedwell 9-4-2012 - Version 2

Today the Berlin Wall remains only in small pieces as a tourist attraction...as does the area that was Checkpoint Charlie. Here are two pics of another friend who just visited them.
Josh Miller at Berlin Wall 2012

Josh at Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin 2012

...and actually, I guess we could call this 'The Serendipitous Godson' ...and now
'Godgranddaughter' ... may she come to visit here soon, too.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site