by Josephat from Tanzania
Between 3rd to 6th October 2019 we had a four days tour to Berlin. It was part of the programs for the youth Department of the Evangelical Church of Dortmund. We were eleven people. Our trip aimed at exploring the historical Significance of the city of Berlin in the modern Germany. I don’t know if anyone else was as excited as I was. But days arrived and the train took us to Berlin, finally.
On 3rd October it was Germany’s Public holiday and so we toured the part of the Berlin wall called East Side Gallery and we joined the celebrations which were taking place near the Brandenburger Tor.
On the next day our tour proceeded, we had a tour guide of course who was deeply experienced with the History of Berlin. Over so many interesting things, my attention was caught by the artistic sculpture of two people, a man and a woman kneeling down while embracing each other. The sculpture is right outside the Chapel of Reconciliation. It brought me mixed feelings, I drew closer to read the words written in the corner stone. I then realized the artist going by the name Josefina de Vasconcellos,an English Sculptor is the one who made it. Later on I was told by my Boss, Jana that she saw the similar sculpture in Coventry Cathedral,England. Our curiosity made us to finally find out that the casts of the similar sculptures are found in Coventry Cathedral and in the Hiroshima Peace Park in Japan, in the Stormont Estate(Northern Ireland) and in Berlin.
But why did she do that? In one of her quotes she says,
„The sculpture was originally conceived in the aftermath of the War. Europe was in shock, people were stunned. I read in a newspaper about a woman who crossed Europe on foot to find her husband, and I was so moved that I made the sculpture. Then I thought that it wasn’t only about the reunion of two people but hopefully a reunion of nations which had been fighting.“
In years 1961-1989 there was a big conflict between two sides of Germany which today are part of one strong country. The communist East Germany and the Capitalist West Germany. Many people were not happy with the policies of the Communist government and then there were so many cases of people defecting from the East to the West. This resulted to many families losing their relatives for so long. Some of them never saw each other for the rest of their lives.
The sculpture hence represents the feelings of those people who luckily got reunited at last, and broadly it represents the sense of forgiveness, reunification and peace.This is the all times message to our everyday life.
Germany is one big country today with great achievements, this is because of the reconciliation. The remained part Berlin wall today remain as the historical significance and not the barrier anymore. It saves the history significance of reconciliation, and so does the sculpture of Reconciliation.