Meister: A warm day in Berlin


Dick Meister describes the tense scene at the Berlin Wall shortly after it went up in 196l

By Dick Meister

It was 20 years ago this month that the Berlin Wall finally fell, one of the last vestiges of the Cold War. But though it's long gone, I and I'm sure many others, have not forgotten that Soviet-erected barrier which had stood for 28 years as a nearly impenetrable divider between the Soviet East and the West.

I especially remember the first time I saw the wall, just after it went up in 1961. The atmosphere was incredibly tense, a tension I and other reporters had found almost too acute to describe.

West Berliners sat at sidewalk cafes downtown, chatting amiably but without gaiety. Genuine relaxation seemed impossible because of the newly-constructed wall that stood just a few miles away. Out there the crowds were greater, but almost no one was talking.