What does "Little Berlin" mean?

Map Mödlareuth
The village Mödlareuth was separated by a wall for 23 years
source: Deutsch-Deutsches Museum Mödlareuth
More than forty years ago, a German village called Mödlareuth was given the name Little Berlin by American soldiers. The village was and still is located exactly at the border between Thuringia and Bavaria, which was also the border between the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic (GDR) until 1989. As in Berlin, the village of Mödlareuth was separated by a wall at that time that stood 3,30 meters high and 700 meters long. For 23 years this wall divided Mödlareuth into two parts, thereby also separating its population.

The political, cultural and ideological divide between a democratic state on the one side and an authoritarian one on the other side of the wall has been well and truly over for 20 years. Nevertheless, the administration of Mödlareuth is still separated as the two parts of the village belong to two different federal states: There are two individual local area codes, two postcodes, and two mayors.

19 journalism trainees spent one week in Mödlareuth in order to let the people tell their individual stories: There are two best friends from East and West who met because of the wall. The GDR's State Security spying did not omit such microcosms as the village of Mödlareuth, although only 50 people were living there.

There are also the children living in the year 2009 who tell us in which way they are related today to the German-German border.

Little Berlin has become a symbol of separation by the wall - as well as the Big Berlin. Yet it is also a symbol of reunification. Therewith it also represents something greater which does not only concern Berlin or Mödlareuth, but the whole of Germany and all Germans. This applies to the past as well as the present.

You are invited to read, watch and listen to these sites explain how it used to be and what it is like today. You are able to experience on the following sites what it meant for the people to be separated by a wall in their village. Thereby we hope to enable you to learn more about the history of Mödlareuth and its inhabitants - but also of your own past. You are welcome to remember the reunification that happened 20 years ago - together with us and the people of Mödlareuth.

"Memory can`t undo, but can minimize the likeliness of repetition." (Friedrich Schorlemmer)

Nina Paulsen / Sophia Seiderer / 21.September 2009

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Das doppelte Dorf
Mit jungen Augen
Prominente Stimmen
Museumsdorf Mödlareuth
Gesichter des Dorfes
Leben an der Grenze