Exercice - The Berlin Wall
Who is Ursula Bach? Sum up her story in a few words.
Ursula Bach is a woman who lived in Germany during the separation of Berlin in two sides: the East Side, which was communist, and the West Side, which was under a capitalist regime. When the Wall between the two sides was built in 1961, Ursula was six months pregnant and living on the West Side, whereas the father of her children was living on the East Side. This meant her son, Andreas, grew up without knowing his father.
Where was Ursula when the building of the wall was announced?
When the building of the Wall was announced, Ursula was on the West Side, in a refugee camp. She had moved there from the East side a few months earlier, following her mother and brother. She did not tell Fried, his boyfriend and father of her child, that she was moving, though she hoped he would follow her.
How old was Andreas when he first saw his father? Did they manage to build a father-and-son relationship?
Andreas first saw his father in 1989, after the Wall fell. This meant he must have been around 28 years old when he met him. Therefore, they were not able to build a healthy relationship between father and son.
Why was the Wall built?
The Wall was built to stop the massive emigration from the East Side to the West Side, which started in 1949 after the German Democratic Republic (GDR) was created. Even though Walter Ulbricht, first secretary of the Socialist Unity party and GDR state council chairman, stated publicly that this would not happen, he went to do it secretly until the construction of the wall was finally announced in 1961.
Which was the euphemism used to name the Wall?
The GDR authorities referred to the Wall as “the anti-fascist protection measure”.
"Euphemism" is a noun which means:
A mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing.
What does the expression “her brain tuned in to what she was hearing” mean? (Paragraph 1)
It means she didn’t realize immediately what she was hearing. It took a few seconds for her brain to understand the meaning of it and to “tune in”.
What were the differences between Ursula and Fried? Do you believe she regrets leaving him?
Fried was a communist and Ursula was not. Therefore, when they were asked to spy on each other and not to attend church services anymore, Ursula finally decided to leave with her family to the West Side. Being able to baptise her child was very important to her. However, I believe we can sense from the text that she is not a hundred percent sure of what she did, since it meant separating Fried from his son.