An Alternative History of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

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By Max Dax and Robert Defcon
Electronic Beats

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, dropouts, squatters and anarchists made Berlin’s decaying central district of Mitte world famous. Where today young professionals meet for power lunches amidst a constant din of Daft Punk and t-shirt tourists stumble from H&M to Diesel, rubble and smog from the infrastructural ruins of East Germany and the real ruins of the Wall once implied a different future. In the ’90s, a parallel universe with its own music and squatter culture rapidly emerged in Berlin. This is the scene’s surprising oral history, featuring early Einstürzende Neubauten member Gudrun Gut, Atari Teenage Riot frontman and Digital Hardcore Recordings founder Alec Empire, Love Parade co-founder Danielle de Picciotto, Berlin Insane festival founder Steve Morell, Tresor and Berlin Atonal founder Dimitri Hegemann and more.

Alec Empire: Societies can come to an end. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, political circumstances changed radically from one day to another.

Katrin Massmann [former manager of the famous art squat Tacheles and current art designer at Humboldthain club]: The implosion of the GDR had already begun by mid-1989, six months before the Wall came down. The entire structure of the state crumbled in the hands of the apparatus. But no one expected such a spectacular end.

Danielle De Picciotto: Motte [Love Parade co-founder Matthias Roeingh, AKA the DJ Dr. Motte], called me on November 9, weeping: “The Wall is open.” We were all completely beside ourselves.

Gudrun Gut: From one day to the next, Berlin was an uncontrolled city.

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i was in berlin a bit before the wall came down. as a member of Neither East Nor West-NYC (NENW-NYC), whose thing at the time was uniting oppositions in east and west for "mutual solidarity" and had great historical sucsess. i made it into e berlin and met with a head-honcho of the oppostion which was 99.9 anti-authoritarian 'left' in differing ways, completely understanding capitalism/ western-style imperialism etc. unlike other oppositions in the soviet-bloc nations/semi-colonies/colony's. she arranged for me to meet a large group the next day, accept the e pigs had my # by then (i have stasi files) and wouldn't let me in e berlin. what made me sick was how the powerful and world known among @'s autonomens that were revered and then emulated all over with black-blocs, gave not 1 shit that i know of about the easterners, just across a wall, living in a REAL dictatorship, in a REAL colony russia-stlye. i grabbed 1 outside a new squat 1 day and the fuck couldn't be bothered with easterners not giving a shit about them. another @ squatter right there listened to me in amazement that he never thought of commen cause with easterners living in a REAL IMPERIAL DICTATORSHIP just a few blocs away, while he was having fun, and said 'he'd think about it'. another @ w berliner that moved to nyc and continued @ stuff was so hateful and unconcerned about the easterners that she said she couldn't even explain it as she was kinda frothing, trying to get it to me that she didn't wanna talk about something that made her face contort, and that psycho shit from her i can only call like so 'racist' like...NENW-NYC was deep into east @'s and west @'s who worked in commen cause. we had zero care from the oh-so-cool-tough-w german scene--  fuck 'em, what trash...
bob mcglynn,