Friday, 3 September 2010

When events you have lived through become walks of history

At one time I had intended to call my GDR memoir "Herr Modrow walks home" Hans Modrow was leader of the SED in Dresden at the end of the GDR. Many attribute the fact that early in October things took a peaceful turn in Dresden to his leadership at the time - he was in the end the premier of the GDR when the first free elections took place.

Today coming out of the Hauptbahnhof I was confronted by the Wege in die Freiheit street installation. I remember those days in early October 1989 so well ... then less than a year later on 3 October 1990 Germany was united. Who has even heard of or remembers Hans Modrow now? A trivial pursuit question in a very specialised history section.

Walking through the streets of Dresden and finding my way to the Ibis hotel where the Kirchentag is putting us up and realising it is the same hotel we stayed in when we started our honeymoon here in Dresden is quite an odd trip down memory lane. It looks the same but it doesn't at all feel the same ...
everything has been so repackaged and events are such a long time in the past already.

My heart loves this part of Germany. Coming to Dresden has shown me how much this is part of me and I am still part of this history - not just from 20 years ago but from further back still. My German grandmother came from further east still, Breslau, now Wroclaw. The streets here speak to me, even without the history installation, but perhaps without that visual reminder I wouldn't have begun to listen to the streets talking.

Of course I never did write a memoir - maybe I'll have to change that and finally type up my diaries for the 25th anniversary.