Friday, June 17, 2011

ON LIBERTY: This Day in History

On June 17, 1885, The Statue of Liberty arrived, disassembled,  in the New York Harbour - shipped in 200 crates.  She was given to us by France to commemorate the French-American alliance during our Revolutionary War.  

But most of us think of her as America's official greeter to immigrants seeking freedom and economic prosperity.
Photo complements of Creative Commons
Chuck and I were in Germany recently where a replica of "Lady Liberty" also greeted us just outside Berlin's main train station. 

Just a few blocks away from this statue is a street named Strasse des 17 Juni.

It commemoratees this day in 1953 when a pivotal event took place in eastern Germany (which had been granted to Russia in the wake of WWII).  East Germany wasn't recovering economically after World War II as West Germany was.  The people were fed up! On June 16 construction workers took to the streets to protest the socialist government imposed on them after the war

One day later, Soviet tanks squelched the anti-government rebellion.  About 20 people died and 100 were injured.  For several decades fear and intimidation ruled in communist East Germany. However by the 1980s the people began to find their voice again and took to the streets in large peaceful protests.  Their efforts resulted in the reunification of the two Germany's.

Today, on Strasse des 17 Juni stands another "statue of liberty" - this one known as The Caller. 

The inscription on the pedestal reads  "I pace through the world and call peace, peace, peace."

I love how she stands on the Western side of the Brandenburg Door calling to citizens in the East.

The Brandenburg Door is Germany's defining symbol.
Brandenburg Door as seen from the east.
Sadly, during communist years it was mostly inaccessible to both German nations. Happily, one can now walk through from both sides. 

Strasse des 17 Juni becomes Unter der Linden (under the Linden trees) as west meets east on this side of the magnificent gate.


  1. Getting to East Germany was the worst thing in the world under the commies. This is a great post, I had forgotten about 17 Juni, even though I have been on that street many times.
    I love the statue of the Caller. Thanks for reminding me of forgotten things.

  2. Hi Becky. I adore that statue (The Caller)

    Alex I loved going to East Germany now. Part of me wishes I had experienced the "before" for the sake of my story. I might have to interview you!

  3. Interesting post, and great picture of the two statues. How poetic. It's funny when you can look back on a year in history and think, "I lived then." Wierd. History all around us, right?

  4. Yes, Carol - history is all around us but in Berlin it is palpable!

  5. I love the caller and her message of peace, peace, peace. Thanks so much for sharing, Joyce! Peace to you!

  6. Thanks Clara for your peace blessing! Having good blogging and writing friends does contribute to peace in my life!

  7. TYhis is beautiful, Joyce. I didn't know about this statue at all!


  8. Thanks Katia. I totally missed seeing The Caller on my former trip to Berlin. So I didn't know about her either.