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Ghosts of Berlin

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 26 December 2007

Berlin is haunted by histories: the twentieth century brought defeat in the First World War and the abdication and exile of the king; it brought a Nazi government, war with much of Europe, a holocaust and the devastation of the German capital.  It also brought a division which left one half of the city in Communist control and the other half marooned in a foreign country. Memories of these histories are carved into the infrastructure of modern Berlin.  As the process of unification develops, what is remembered and what is forgotten, what is re-used and what is demolished, bedevils and divides the capital of Germany as it tries to position itself for a global future. A classic sociological work, The Ghosts Of Berlin by Brian Ladd documented the unique challenges for the changing Berlin since unification in 1990.  In association with the Open University, Laurie Taylor goes to Berlin to update the story and discover how successful Berlin has been in taming or exorcising its unruly ghosts. Laurie talks to Bruno Flierl, a former Urban Planner from the East of the City; Professor Werner Sewing; Professor Lena Schulz zur Wiesch and Professor Gabi Dolff-Bonekämper to discover how memorials can paradoxically serve to isolate difficult memories. BERLIN EXTRA: Extra material from our partnership with the Open University



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