Today 20 years ago, the last hours of the Berlin Wall are precisely known. At 6.53 p.m. Günter Schabowski, a spokesman of the eastern german Politbüro was asked when new regulations for the private travel of eastern German citizens will take effect. As he was not fully updated that these new regulations were due to November 10th, 1989 he just answered
As far as I know effective immediately, without delay.
(german: “Das tritt nach meiner Kenntnis […] ist das sofort, unverzüglich.“)
That answer was like a big bang for the citizens of eastern Berlin. Thousands went to the Bornholmer Straße demanding to open the wall immediately. At 10.30 p.m. the eastern german border patrol man Harald Jäger surrendered and opened the Berlin Wall on the Bornholmer Straße with the last words
We’re flooding now.
(german: “Wir fluten jetzt”)
Now 20 years later, not many relicts from that time have remained. Today at 7 p.m. a thousand dominos as a symbol for the former Berlin Wall are gonna be knocked over in front of the Brandenburg Gate.
To get a better insight how the world looked liked in the 1980s here in Berlin, the Deutsche Welle made an amazing documentary about how the inner German Wall was secured.
People who were into electronic music in the 1990’s do know the E-Werk rather well. That location has become known all over the world for its amazing parties, and as an experimental playground for what has later been named Trance. The E-Werk and the Berlin Tresor were some of the places were the science fiction soundtrack for the upcoming turn of the millenium has been played first.
Berlin Mitte’s Ruins in the 1990s and today
The E-Werk and the Tresor had a distance of about 200meters. When the E-Werk closed its doors at 12am, people were going to the Tresor for the after hour. Berlin Mitte at that time was undergoing major changes. Buildings were just about to be renovated. Streets and lanterns made almost dark lights. Berlin Mitte was terrain that cried for being experimentally explored.
It was the time where the building across from the E-Werk could just not be imagined as the future german Ministry of Finance. In fact, the forecourt of the current German Ministry of Finance has been freely adopted by party guests as parking areas. Police men have been rarely seen.
Now, 12 years after the E-Werk officially closed its doors as a techno institution in 1997, Berlin Mitte has changed almost completely. The Ministry of Finance is covered by uncountable security cameras. Major parts of Berlin Mitte are now no protest zones with special rights for police men.
Pleasant anticipation with bitter aftertaste
Anyway the pleasant anticipation was very high when we heard that the E-Werk will open its doors for a retro party with former E-Werk resident DJs like Woody, and Clé.
Sadly, like the surroundings changed in Berlin Mitte with all its galeries and stores that almost nobody can afford, the door policy of the E-Werk has changed aswell. When in the 1990’s there was only a single entrance for everybody, you now got three entrances. One for the hoi polloi, another one for the VIPs, and a third one for so called special artists.
Classic solidarity outside only
Although we like strict door policy, this time some people were not let in, that we could not understand why. We’ve been waiting in the queue for about 15 minutes. That’s quite a short time compared to then. During that period three people from the hoi polloi queue were refused to enter. For us it clearly looked like an arbitrarily decision by the bouncers. And really it ain’t funny to see 35 year olds being refused to get in from 25 years old wanna be bouncers.
While two of the refused guys just ended up lonesome trying to talk to the bouncers. The third guy was with a group of about 15 people, estimated 30 to 40 years old. That group completely decided to not get in. Sadly seeing solidarity like this was one of the rare moments that we really felt classic during that classics night.
Berlin Mitte’s 2009 sociotope mirrored inside
After having gotten inside the holy walls of the E-Werk, thanks to the door policy the social mixture expectedly wasn’t matching the classic times. Among some classic people from the 1990s, there were streamlined gentrified 25 year olds all over, matching the nowadays upper-class Berlin Mitte’s and Prenzlauer Berg style.
End of the story: if you’ve been to the E-Werk in the 1990’s bear your romantic remembrance. You’d better not go to the E-Werk nowadays.