Amazing, Rare Photographs of the Berlin Wall Coming Down

photo by Alexandra Avakian
Photojournalist Alexandra Avakian traveled to Berlin based on rumor, and she ended up becoming a witness to history

1989 was already a dramatic year. Working for Time magazine and the New York Times, I had already covered the Palestinian Intifada, the start of war in Nagorno-Karabakh, glasnost and perestroika in Moscow, the death of Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran, among other stories.

On the evening of November 5, I was sitting on a friend’s couch in Paris glued to my shortwave radio. Hour by hour, the story grew in excitement: rumors abounded that the Berlin Wall could very well be coming down within days. So that morning, about 5 a.m., with no assignment, I jumped on a plane headed to West Berlin. By the time I landed, I had the assignment for Life.
I found a cheap two-star hotel, The Hervis, whose best features were close proximity to the Wall and a gossipy owner who passed on the latest whispers he’d heard.

The morning of November 7, I awoke before dawn and walked along the Wall, ready to take pictures. Yet the coming fall was still just an unconfirmed rumor.....more