The Wall

by Sergio Romero 15 days ago in history

A Short Story Set in Cold War Berlin

The Wall
Photo by 🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash

Imagine. Living in a world where it feels black and white. One side is all-good where everyone lives their lives the way they choose to. On the dark side, people can’t choose their own path. Constant policing of the state strictly monitors it. Everything they want to do is checked upon and anything they do against the state will be found out and are severely punished. Miroslav sees that on the news every day and feels like everyone else; don't get into everyone’s business. He lives in Munich with his family. A recent college graduate, he feels nothing motivates him and just wants to hang around until he can find a job. And he also feels that he, like many others, doesn't want to get into the whole mess that the two German states are conflicting. But one phone call will change all of that.

One night he is sitting on the couch, watching some TV program where his mother calls him to the dining room and tells him that the phone is for him. On the other side of the line, his grandmother speaks to him. She tells him that she would like him to come up and visit him. Although he really doesn't want to go, he must not hurt his own grandparent to get out of the way. So, he aggresses to go to where she lives, West Berlin. As he is getting ready to go, a montage of the last 20 or so years appears and shows what the conflict is and how it has made the way Miroslav and other Germans live.

As he is arriving into the city, a large panoramic view of West Berlin is shown. The grace and beautiful of the city are seen with its many shops and attractions. But then we follow a street, which leads to a wall… The Berlin Wall.

The grand and awesomeness of the wall is shown along with dangerous traps and then we see it, East Berlin. The gray walls and dark streets show us what contrast there is to the divided city. Miroslav gets out of the plane and walks over toward the exit before he is stopped by police guards at the exit of the airport. He starts to panic when they pull him to the side and asks him to sit down. They ask him about where he is heading and where he came from. As he answers their questions he starts to panic and after a few minutes he asks flightily what he has done. One of the guards gives him back his papers and tells him that he is clear, but during his stay he must not get into other people’s business.

He arrives at his grandmother’s apartment and he meets her, and she helps him get acquainted with the apartment complex and the surrounding neighborhood. Although he is still nervous and scared about the city, he feels that he needs to start to get out of his comfort zone and wants to go out and visit. So, over the next couple, he plans a self-guided tour. On the day of his tour, his grandmother tells him that everything will be all right and not to worry about himself too much and enjoy the city.

He goes out and throughout the day, starts to not feel paranoid. He even goes up to the Berlin wall and walks along the side until he reaches an opening and sees the other side. His adrenaline starts to set, and he suddenly starts to run away from the wall, dodging cars and people until he runs into a bar, panting and catching his breath. He looks around and it seems that everyone is looking at him, like he has escaped from the East. The bartender calls him over to the bar and sits him down. As Miroslav has a drink (his first drink) a fellow drinker sits down and introduces himself as Bastian. Miroslav acknowledges and starts to talk about how he came to West Berlin and when he says what he has done to get into his sort of panicky mess, Bastian says to him that's the same feeling he had when he came to West Berlin. Miroslav doesn’t understand so Bastian tells him that he is from the East and he has escaped to be free in the West.

After the meeting in the bar, Miroslav goes back to his apartment, his grandmother sees him, and they start to talk about how he feels in the city and does he enjoy being there. Miroslav states that he is happy, but he tells his grandmother about the new friend he has made at the bar. His grandmother listens and tells him that there are many people like that, and they don't really mean harm and that we shouldn't get into the business of trying to help them to escape.

Miroslav soon realizes that this is something that he is going to have to live with and that he shouldn't be afraid and paranoid anymore. So, he starts to go around and listen to people who have come from the east and hears their stories. He meets more East Germans and Bastian helps him understand that they are all the same people and that nothing separates them. Miroslav soon gets used to the city and soon finds a summer job working at the local newspaper and becomes a reporter’s apprentice. One his first assignment he follows up and reports on the issues at the border controls. He is assigned to Checkpoint Charlie. On his first day at the border he meets an American guard who works the border and Miroslav starts to interview him about the issues.

During the interview, a crowd starts to gather at the checkpoint. Miroslav notices and looks around to see a mother and child walk toward the Western side from the East. It seems that they are escaping, and it goes unnoticed until a Soviet guard shoots the mother and her child falls to the ground. The child is stuck in the middle and doesn't know where to go. Unfortunately for the child, she is in the no man zone, so no one can go in.

Suddenly, Miroslav feels a sense of needing for help and runs over to the child, not noticing that both sides are armed and picks up the child and runs to the West. After stumbling, he realizes that after hearing all the stories, Miroslav feels that not only does he not feel afraid, what he just did what an act of courage and bravery, something he has never done. Miroslav soon realizes what must be done to free the Eastern people from oppression.

ACT 2

Miroslav is seen as a hero to the people in West Berlin, but to the East he is seen as a thorn in the side of the government. So, his picture and description are posted on the Eastern border sides. Life is good for Miroslav, he got a raise from his job, and he moved out of his grandmother’s apartment and moved to his own place. Miroslav enjoys the new things he is getting but even more he feels that with everything he is getting, people in the East don't get anything. He wants to do something about it. The only thing he knows on what to do is to help people cross the border to freedom. He devises a plan with Bastian to dig a tunnel under the wall and help people escape to the other side. It takes months to plan and finally when it is all ready to dig, something happens. He gets a letter saying that Bastian has been caught helping people cross the river and is imprisoned.

Miroslav must decide: to give up or to help free others and his friend would. He feels that he needs to do more but doesn't want to go any more into risking his life. Before he makes his final word, he asks his grandmother and parents who have come to visit him. They tell him that although they told him not to get into this sort of business, they also want him to retain his pride and tell him to do whatever he feels right to do. At that moment, Miroslav decides to go on with his plan and to fight the Communist state.

Act 3

Miroslav, with the help of other supporters, starts to dig the tunnel from an abandoned warehouse. Day and night, they dig and dig until finally they reach the other side. Joy and emotion fills Miroslav, but that is only half the job. A couple nights later, Miroslav heads towards the wall and gazes and it. In the morning he starts his operation. Three people go into the tunnel to the other side while two stay at halfway point. The others will stay in the West. Before leaving to the East Miroslav wished well upon the others and his family and was given a gun, just in case, along with forged Eastern documents. His group crawls to the Eastern side of the wall and emerges on the other side. Now they must wait until the cover of darkness to lead people to the West through the tunnel. When night falls Miroslav leads a large group of escapees toward the shed where the hold to the tunnel is.

At first it was going well. Then everyone stops and looks to see a jeep with GDR guards coming toward the she, wondering what the large group is doing. Suddenly a shot ring out. One of Miroslav’s friends shoots at the guard; in which they shoot back, killing his friend. Panic and fear arise as they lock themselves in the shed. It will buy them time, but not for very long. As Miroslav hurries people into the tunnel, more guards gang upon the shed, trying to get in. As the last people get in the tunnel the door is broken and guards pour in shooting at Miroslav who in turns shoots back, hitting some guards. He jumps into the tunnel but is shot in the legs and is lagging while the GDER guards follow him.

Finally, as he sees the halfway mark, he is shot again in the back. But he is far enough where Western Germans grab him and pull him to safety. “It is over. The biggest mass escape in the history of the GDR has happened. 72 people have escaped to the West and every single one of them thanks Miroslav. For helping them get to their freedom. As Miroslav is in a hospital recovering, he looks out the window and sees the wall and it doesn't intimidate him anymore. He sees a wall that is down, and that the city is reunited and that All Germans are free to live as they are.

As he falls asleep, he dreams about all of that and hopes it will come true. A couple of years later his dream came true. The wall is down and all of Germany is complete. Everyone thinks and remembers those who have died tried to escape or help others. In a small neighborhood of West Berlin, a young man is remembered by what he did to make his efforts seen to bring peace and harmony to the city.

history
Sergio Romero
Sergio Romero
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Sergio Romero

Film nerd, travel enthusiast, amateur historian who wants to share stories and ideas for all to enjoy. Love what you read? Please share and leave a gift for more stories and adventures!

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