On November 11th, I had the pleasure to serve as a judge at Anderson High School for the 4/5 German class Essay Competition commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.
The students, led by their teacher Ashleigh Stall, studied and prepared for writing their essays focusing on the division of Germany after WWII, when the country was split up into four sectors – French, British, US and Soviet – the Allies who defeated the Nazis. The part of Germany occupied by the Soviets became East Germany/GDR. The construction of the Berlin Wall by East Germany started in August 1961 to prevent the massive emigration and defection of East Germans to West Berlin and West Germany which by 1961 reached 3.5 million, approximately 20% of the entire East German population. The Berlin Wall divided families, relatives and friends for 28 years until, in 1989, the communist political system was no longer sustainable by the Soviet Union and therefore the decades of political, economic and travel restrictions imposed by the Soviets on the so called Eastern Bloc countries (East Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland etc.) loosened. That allowed for political changes which led to the opening of the borders between East and West Berlin on November 9th 1989. The German unification process was completed by October 3rd 1990 but it took until 1992 to completely demolish the massive Berlin Wall.
Students presented essays written in German showing good understanding of the historical events described above.
Congratulations to all on a job well done.
The winners are:
1st place (tie): Johanna Loepke and Jason Loebenthal
2nd place: Daniel Luddeke
3rd place (tie): Worth Allen and Marissa Martin
By Catharina Toltzis Ph.D.
Catharina Toltzis is the Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council Board Chair. She consults for the United Nations and moved to Cincinnati from Switzerland.