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Photos show the Inner German border, then and now

The Local · 1 Oct 2010, 07:32

Published: 01 Oct 2010 07:32 GMT+02:00

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Jürgen Ritter, a 61-year-old telecommunications technician, grew up close to the border in town of Barum, which was then in the West German state of Lower Saxony.

He began photographing the length of the wall in 1982, working from north to south, “always in search of the beautiful picture that sticks in the throat,” he says. It took about two years to work down the almost 1,400-kilometre death strip section by section, travelling at weekends and holidays armed with only a map and his camera.

He ended up with some 40,000 photographs, publishing his prophetically titled first book Nicht alle Grenzen bleiben, or “Not All Borders Remain,” shortly before the Berlin Wall fell in 1989.

Six years ago he resumed the project, photographing the same locations. The results are a monument to change, with the contrast between the original black and white shots and the more recent colour telling a vivid story of how quickly the country has changed since reunification in 1990.

Click here to see Ritter's photos.

As the 20th anniversary of reunification draws near, these photographs, alongside those from his first book, have been published on his website under the project title Die Grenze - damals und heute, or “The Border – Then and Now.”

Story continues below…

Ritter was awarded the citizen’s prize for German unity by the Federal Agency for Civic Education in 2007 for his “far-reaching, unique and intensive documentation of both the divided and unified Germany.”


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Your comments about this article

09:24 October 1, 2010 by delvek
These photos are amazing.
09:40 October 1, 2010 by Osk
Great historical record well done to Mr Ritter. (Should have left the tower in pic 5 made a good viewpoint over the football pitch!)
10:34 October 1, 2010 by auniquecorn
Great pictures and a great idea
10:56 October 1, 2010 by mehta_p
Respect for Mr Ritter.

Good photography, great idea, well maintained photos

keep it up....
12:29 October 1, 2010 by closeenough
Pictures are worth a thousand words. Well done!
13:55 October 1, 2010 by hh922
Absolutely amazing photos... good job !
23:33 October 1, 2010 by wxman
Just one word, beautiful! Notice, in spite of the B/W contrast with color, how everything looks cleaner and better, even the painting of the building facades. A happier place, I'm sure.
00:44 October 2, 2010 by Prufrock2010
A stunning reminder! Bravo!
14:25 October 2, 2010 by hanskarl
Thank you Herr Ritter. Hopefully, our future generations will learn from this contrast and not repeat it.
04:47 October 3, 2010 by MichaelMolenaar
6 photos? Must be a short border.
10:21 October 3, 2010 by KBCraig
Nice photos. It's hard to compare "then versus now", because so many places have changed.

I was stationed at OP Alpha, part of the 1/11 ACR. I wish I had access to the photos we took in the mid 1980's, to compare them to the current landscape.

I'm glad things have changed.
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