Even More History!: So, the border wasn’t actually just a fence, that would make it too easy for East Germans to escape their communist country. The actual border involved a 50 meter-ish sector of no-man’s-land called the Death Strip. This began with a fence, then trenches or a metal barricade to stop vehicles, then various other traps such as metal spikes in the ground (nicknamed), barbed wire, attack dogs, and even mines in some cases. If you somehow managed to get through all this, there was another fence (or the Berlin Wall, if you were crossing in Berlin) before you could enter West Germany. There was also sensors and trip wires variously located that would alert guards to your presence. And all this was being watched over constantly by guards with machine guns in watchtowers.
Anxiety in Germany’s poorer areas is part of the reason the country has been reluctant to contribute more toward European rescue programs. Many Germans in this region say the notion that they should give over more money to pay away Europe’s problems misjudges their own situation. And although the more urgent problems facing countries such as Greece and Spain have prompted other European leaders to call for greater German assistance, opinion polls show that most Germans approve of Merkel’s unwillingness to dip deeper into her country’s treasury.
We have PhD students from Tanzania and Cameroon in our projects in Hamburg. Artists from Namibia are also soon going to join. They are happy that this topic is being dealt with and that they are getting a chance to work on it with us. They tell us that this topic is very important in their home countries, but there are not enough resources for an in-depth exploration of colonial history. That is also an effect of European colonialism: Educational institutions and the chances to explore one's history are still very unequally distributed.