If you’re of a certain age, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union doubtless one of the most memorable events of your childhood. I remember it seeming like the world had suddenly been turned upside down. The implacable “enemy” that had menaced us for so long was gone, seemingly overnight. I was too young to really understand what was so bad about communism, but did know that lots of people seemed to want to leave those countries and come to the west. It wasn’t until I was a bit older, and Germany had been reunified that I realized just how bad things had gotten for people on the other side of the Iron Curtain.
German photographer Stefan Koppelkamm illustrated this in stunning fashion recently. Just after German reunification, he took photos of the devastated landscape of East Germany. I don’t know for a fact, but many of the buildings he photographed looked like they’d never been repaired after the Second World War.
Then, a decade later he returned to the same places to shoot the photos again. The results of ten years of a free economy are staggering.
I highly recommend browsing the whole gallery.