Letter: Unfair to Berlin

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The Independent Culture
Sir: As a person who grew up in the German Democratic Republic and who has been living in Berlin for six years, I was dismayed by Jeremy Atiyah's article "The once and future city" (30 October).

Your journalist wrote of how Berlin is trying to become a city of the future by pointing out the important and famous buildings and areas, and current construction. Unfortunately he did not mention the beautiful areas such as Spandau. Maybe he should have visited these before concluding that Berlin "is a city of studied boringness".

He rarely wrote about East Berlin, which is actually good, because he gave your readers the wrong impression of East Berlin. Not all restaurant have "brown tiles" and "plastic flowers". The people who eat in them are actually human beings and not "friendly old communists".

I find myself annoyed by the narrow-minded opinions expressed about the former GDR, with its "statues of Marx and Engels", "Stalinistic boulevard", and "gigantic socialist-realist statue of a sword-bearing Soviet soldier".

Articles like this can explain why intelligent people are still asking me if life in the GDR could be compared with the life George Orwell describes in 1984.


Carshalton, Surrey