The Witness

Reunification in Black and White

Brandenburg gate Barbara Klemm FAZ
Fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 in front of Brandenburg Gate. Barbara Klemm came from Frankfurt to Berlin the day after the news of the fall of the wall broke to take pictures.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    As Germany celebrates the 25th anniversary of its reunification on Oct. 3, the country is reflecting on its meaning.

  • Facts


    • On Oct. 3, 1990, the German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany to re-form the nation of Germany.
    • Ms. Klemm’s work shows the formation of a unified Germany and how the country became what it is today.
    • The German Stock Exchange has 25 of her images, and the Bundesbank has about 30.
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The unimposing woman in her mid-70’s sat all alone on a grand stage.  About 100 guests had taken their seats at Frankfurt’s MMK modern art museum, and all eyes were on her — and her black-and-white images.

Barbara Klemm seemed small on stage, but she’s a big figure in Germany. She spoke almost reluctantly into the microphone, and only a subtle smile that occasionally darted across her focused face revealed her joy at the interest in her work. But she would actually rather be behind her camera than on a stage talking about it.

Currently, there is a lot of interest in her work, as Ms. Klemm is giving the celebrations in Frankfurt for the 25th anniversary of German reunification an artistic framework. The entire country will be celebrating the Day of German Unity on Saturday. The highpoint in Frankfurt will be a public party and a ceremony at the Old Opera House, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Joachim Gauck taking part.


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