Exhibition view: Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee, 2009
At the inner-German border – to the current state of knowledge (2023) – about 327 people have been killed. The exact number is not yet known and maybe never will be.
My project Wall makes visible all those fatalities that were murdered by firearms at the Berlin Wall between 1961 and 1989. Starting from the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall (2009), I studied the Stasi files of the victims. I was shocked by the meticulousness of the descriptions of the murders and the enumeration of the number of shots in them.
Often machine guns were fired blindly from several sides at those fleeing – or those simply staying near the Wall strip. On 26.07.1966 for example, Eduard Wroblewski was shot 274 times by 6 different border guards.
Not infrequently the perforated bodies disappeared, the perpetrators were awarded merit badges in GDR times.
In my work, the paper becomes the body of the victims, pressed through the printing rollers in the same number of shots by which they died – with up to six different printers, standing for the 6 order guards.
The result is an abstract wall piece made of 66 almost leathery papers (each 29,7×21cm).
An scheme indicates the names and history of the victims, for each of which I designed and hand-bound their own booklets.
The project was created for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
In the meantime, many more files and victims may have been processed.
The sources come from the website Chronic of the Wall.
my hiking ways along the former Berlin wall,
visiting all the places where the victims were shot (detail)