On 1st October 2009, Creative Culture attended the launch of The Berlin Wall - My part in its downfall by Peter Millar at the Frontline Club in London
As the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s downfall approaches, Peter Millar’s book is the opportunity to look back at this fascinating event that would change Germany forever.
At the time, Peter Millar worked as a foreign correspondent for Reuters news agency and was based in East Berlin, the communist capital city.
In his novel, Peter shares his experience of living in East Berlin and Moscow while history provided him with so many stories to tell. Life in the communist city was interesting but not easy when freedom seemed to be something as inaccessible as the goods in Western showcases. The GDR tried to control every part of their citizen’s life. In fact, Peter had to get used to microphones in the walls and would later, when his Stasi files were accessible, discover how meticulous the surveillance had been (it included comments like “He has crossed the road illegally while the pedestrian light was red”). But the author also enjoyed the unpretentious way of living in East Berlin.
With the GDR’s reins slackening and the protest movement intensifying, Peter would later witness first-hand the socio-political revolution that eventually brought the Wall down. He also describes the famous misunderstanding that led to the Wall’s downfall and the following non-stop party in Berlin: in a press conference that was broadcast live on television, a member of the communist government declared, not completely aware of what had actually been decided, that every GDR citizen was from now on allowed to cross the border (in reality, the government had only decided to loosen travel regulations in the near future).
The event was as delightful as the novel. Peter Millar read extracts from his book to a very interested and diverse audience to start with. Later, we also got the chance to question and exchange opinions with the author in person.
Peter Millar’s book is highly recommendable for everyone seeking to gain insight into one of the most important events of German contemporary history.
We also invite you to read the fascinating summary written by the author himself: http://timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article6814696.ece?token=null&offset=0&page=1
By Julia Sahm