Photos taken in Berlin 1961-62, just as the Wall was going up and taking shape. These were sent to me by Robert C. Paul (Bob) in March 2015 after he stumbled on my Frankfurt High School (Germany) website, which also includes some photos I took of Berlin in 1959, before the Wall. Bob and I were in Frankfurt at the same time but in different schools.
The images range in width from about 1400px to about 3500px and the quality varies; some are extraordinarily sharp. You can use the Enlarge button to view any image full size (and then you might also have to click the full-size image itself to "unscale" it, depending on your browser). The captions are underneath the pictures so you might need to scroll down to see a caption. See the bottom of this page for Bob's introduction to the collection.
There are three groups of pictures:
My family and I lived in Frankfurt from May 1960 to July 1962, with a home leave trip of several months to Washington, DC, in late 1960 to January 1961. Dad worked at the American Consulate General in Frankfurt, which was within walking distance of our home at 11 Jakob-Leislerstraße*. My brother (who is three years younger than I am) and I attended Frankfurt Elementary School #1, which also was a short walk from home. I have fond memories of school there, my friends, learning German Christmas carols, and learning to speak German (and since kids learn languages so easily, I also learned I could correct my parents' horrible German — that was fun!).
In May 1962, we traveled from Frankfurt to West Berlin by train, which was
operated by the US military. We were stopped at the border of the German
Democratic Republic and East German patrols inspected each train car by
walking through them, very slowly. It all seemed very cloak-and-dagger to my
12-year-old mind (and it was, in a sense). The train was sealed until we
reached West Berlin. American citizens were not forbidden from entering East
Berlin (and thus implicitly crossing the border, using their passports, to
travel into East Germany), but my father told us in no uncertain terms that we
would not. He explained that as holders of US diplomatic passports, we could
not under any circumstances, use our passports to cross into East Germany
because that would be tantamount to the American government recognizing the
German Democratic Republic (East Germany), when, at the time, the American
government did not recognize East Germany as a nation and we had no Embassy
in or diplomatic representation to East Germany. On my next trip to Berlin,
many years later in 1992, I was thrilled to cross into the territory that
was once East Berlin.
|*||Jakob Leisler was born in Frankfurt in 1640 and went to New Netherland in the service of the Dutch West India Company. He became rather wealthy, and among other things bought a French Huguenot family out of slavery. He was a Lieutenant Governor of New York, and led a rebellion against the British and the wealthy Dutch patroons. He apparently was gruesomely executed by the English in 1691. How nice that the High Commission in Germany (HICOG), which built the American housing development that included where we lived in 1960-62, named one of the streets after such an illustrious Frankfurter.|
Send inquiries and comments to Frank da Cruz, firstname.lastname@example.org.