Adrienne Perlman from Austin, grew up as an Army brat and lived in Germany when she was a child. She’s been to the Berlin Wall three different times.
“The first time was with my father, who was an Army officer…he was in his army uniform and I was holding his hand and we went through Checkpoint Charlie and there was a striking difference between the East and the West,” Perlman said. “Everything in the West was very colorful and vibrant. And as soon as we got into the east, everything was devoid of color and it felt like somebody was following us the whole time we were there.”
In 1989, Perlman was in high school in the United States and was part of a sister city delegation that visited Germany right after the wall came down.
“And I met a family in the city that we were staying in and they had relatives in East Germany,” she said. “And so, I went on a trip with them to East Germany. We went into their apartment, which was in a Soviet bloc apartment building, and they made us go out on a walk with them so they could talk to us openly and freely because they were still worried that the secret police, the Stasi, were listening to every word they were saying in their apartment.”
When it was time to come home, Perlman had a suitcase full of pieces from the wall.
“It absolutely felt different going back a couple of years ago [as an adult],” Perlman said. “Most of the wall is now gone. But the thing that they left were two cobblestone strips that weave throughout the city as a reminder of where the walls stood. And it’s almost like a scar that bisects the city. It’s a totally different place now than when I was a child… I think it’s for the better, and I think that they’re still trying to deal with the remnants of the wall … that particular wall was built to actually keep people in, not keep people out.”