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The coach, full of tourists, including Jack and Rainer, was moving slowly through the city, so that everyone could see the sights. As its sides and roof were made of glass, people could look out in all directions. The guide was a student from the Humboldt University who wanted to improve his English during his holidays.
"Over there is the theatre of the Berlin Ensemble, which Bertolt Brecht, the writer and dramatist, made famous," he said. "The London newspaper 'The Times' once said that it was recognised as one of the best theatres in Europe."
Going down Friedrichstrasse, the coach soon came to the well-known Unter den Linden. The driver turned to the right and took the tourists to the Brandenburg Gate. There they got out of the coach.
A young officer of the frontier guard took them round the beautiful gate. Jack wondered if it was part of the "Berlin Wall", as the G.D.R. state frontier in Berlin is called in Britain.
"Why do you have to have the wall?" one of the tourists asked the officer. They listened attentively as he explained to them what the situation was before August 13th, 1961. Most of this the tourists had never heard before.
The officer said : "Since 1961 we have been able to build up Socialism more effectively than ever before. The tempo of construction has increased.
West Berlin has often been misused as a centre of provocations against our Republic. But the imperialists won't get through our frontier."
Then the coach took the tourists back along the Unter den Linden.
"The buildings on both sides here were nearly all destroyed during the Second World War," the guide said. "Some of them were reconstructed, and the gaps were filled with modern buildings, such as offices, restaurants, shops and hotels."
The tourists saw the famous German State Opera House, the Opera Café, the Humboldt University, the building of the Foreign Office, the Palace of the Republic, and the Museum of German History. Then they saw the Television Tower in front of them: 365 metres high, it is the second highest building in Europe; 200 metres up, there is a café from which visitors can enjoy a beautiful view of Berlin.
The coach entered the large Marx-Engels-Platz. "What's that building over there?" the guide was asked by one of the tourists.
"That is the seat of the State Council," answered the guide. "Interesting is the reconstructed older part of the building including the balcony; from which in 1918 Karl Liebknecht proclaimed a socialist republic. This square has seen many class-struggles in its long history. That building over there, for instance, called the Marstall, was defended with great courage by the 'Volksmarinedivision' during the November Revolution."
The tourists were shown the red City Hall; and then the coach took them to the Alexanderplatz, Berlin's new city centre.
"I would not have recognised it again," one of the tourists said. "When I stayed here 10 years ago it looked quite different."
"We are proud of our new Berlin, especially of our Alex," the student told the tourists. "I helped during my holidays to change the old Alex into a modern City centre. As you can see, many buildings of steel, glass and concrete have been built here. The reconstruction began when the Teachers' Centre with the Congress Hall was built in 1964.
The Alexanderplatz is also the beginning of the Karl-Marx-Allee. That is the road with the modern blocks of flats on both sides. But there are also new restaurants, cafés, cinemas, a new hotel and shops of all kinds there. Once this was one of the many poor quarters of old Berlin."
The tourists left the coach and had a look at the new shopping centre and the many other modern buildings. Lots of people were moving along with them.
Quelle / Source:
English for you 5
Volk und Wissen
Volkseigener Verlag
6. Auflage, 1979

(East German English school book for class 11
Reading level: Age 16/17)