Meet the women reunited 58 years after Berlin Wall was built

'Wall Girls' reunited after 58 years
'Wall Girls' reunited after 58 years
By Sinead BarrySabine Sans with Reuters
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Two women have been reunited 58 years since they appeared in a now-famous photo shaking hands over the Berlin Wall.


Two women have been reunited 58 years since they appeared in a now-famous photo shaking hands over the Berlin Wall.

Rosemarie Badaczewski and Kriemhild Meyer were photographed when the structure was still low enough to see over.

They were captured just days after construction of the wall — which divided Berlin physically and ideologically — began on August 13, 1961.

The pair, who became known internationally as the "Wall Girls", were symptomatic of the divisions the structure created. Rosemarie, on the left, was to be barricaded into the east with Kriemhild, on the right, in the west.

"I ran straight to the wall, without looking right and without looking left," recalled Badaczewski as she posed with her old friend at the same place where the photo was taken. "The policeman who is in the picture should have stopped me."

"I walked towards my friend with only that thought in my head," she added.

The 155-kilometre-long wall came to symbolise the deep divisions running through Europe and the chasm between the communism of the east and the capitalism of the west. It came down on November 1989.

The photo of the pair — aged 15 when it was taken — has been on display at a museum in Johannisthal, Berlin.

Many have wondered what the young women discussed at the wall and how their lives developed after parting.

Authorities launched an appeal last year to find the "Wall Girls" and the pair were quickly found.

Badaczewski escaped from the east with her mother on August 19, 1961, and stayed with Meyer's family for a night.

After she left, the friends did not meet until their reunion some 58 years later. Badaczewski moved to Giessen, Kriemhild to Switzerland.

Approximately 5,000 people, including Badaczewski, escaped to the west after the wall was built.

The anniversary of the wall's construction was commemorated in Germany on Tuesday (August 13) at a former border point.

CDU conservative leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer spoke at the event, describing the events as "a reality which we must never forget and which forces us to do one thing, not to allow something like this to ever happen again here in Germany, in Europe and the world".

Berlin prosecutors say that 1,969 people were killed trying to flee the regime in the east between 1961 and 1989, with other groups estimating the figure to be much higher.

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