When living in Berlin it seems obvious to shoot a "borders" panorama dealing with the Berlin Wall. Good motif indeed - nevertheless I decided to try another approach. For a long time I had been eager to visit a well known cemetery in the traditional administration and university area of the city. Many statesmen and scholars are buried here side by side with normal citizens. I expected something in the dimensions of the "Cimetière du Père Lachaise" in Paris. In fact, the cemetery "Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof" is much smaller, even if you add the neighbouring French cemetery to the area (that part has its own wall, seperating it from the Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof part...).
It was cold on that very day, the winter has lasted long this year in Germany, but the sun came out once in a while. After shooting a panorama in front of the tomb of famous Berlin architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel I came across the tomb of Friedrich Eduard Hoffmann, an industrial magnate, mainly busy with production of bricks and ceramics. You can imagine his profession from the many colourful ceramics on the tomb. I decided to make this my "borders" panorama. What was so touching with this tomb?
The reading to the left says something like:
"Bertha-Louise Amalie Hoffmann, born Flügel,
Friedrich Eduard Hoffmann 1818-1900, Inventor of the circular kiln (?)"
The reading to the right says something like:
"Four beloved children of the Royal building Councelor Friedrich Hoffmann and his wife Bertha, born Flügel, -victims of the scarlet fever -
Agathe born 1848, died 1855 Fritz born 1851, died 1855
Eda born 1849, died 1855 Hans born 1853, died 1855
are covered by this tomb."
All four children died in February/March 1855, victims of a disease, which can easily be cured with penicillin today.
When I read this, I thought that there are many kinds of borders, between states and people, in time, in social position, place you live in the world. - And there is this one and only border, between life and death, which no one can tear down, be it an official, a scholars or normal citizen.
Looking left in the direction of the man in white and the two walking women, you would find the man standing in front of the simple grave of Johannes Rau, former President of the Federal Republic of Germany (1999-2004), died 2006.