The Archive of the Romanian Revolution of December 1989

A Catch-22 December 1989, Groundhog-Day Production. Presenting the Personal Research & Scholarship of Richard Andrew Hall, Ph.D.

“The Wall Will Fall. Beliefs Become Reality. W. Oz.” (Photo) and the 9 November Washington Post on East Germany

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on November 9, 2014

Some non-descript Kodak automatic camera (“idiot camera” in German, as  I was to learn from an ethnic German in Romania in 1990) photos from my backpacking through communist Eastern Europe in the summer of 1987.  From my photo album, these are from 9, 12, and 13 August 1987, the latter two days being spent in East Berlin (13 August 1987 was the 26th anniversary of the construction of the Berlin Wall).  The most memorable–although it is hard to see here–is in the far upper right hand corner.  I took it in West Berlin on 9 August 1987 and I am sure locals and tourists remember it (only today, 8 November 2014, did I learn US President Ronald Reagan apparently invoked this in his now-famous speech of 12 June 1987 in West Berlin–an event, which, at the time, during that summer of 1987, seemed like a non-event and got relatively little lasting coverage as I remember, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tear_down_this_wall! ).  It seemed like pie-in-the-sky crazy talk at the time, and even on 9 November 1989 itself, as the newspaper from that morning suggests below (a realization that momentous things were happening, but no real expectation of the watershed event that was to occur later that day).

“The wall will fall.  Beliefs Become Reality W. Oz. [presumably a graffiti artist, conjuring the Wizard of Oz] 10/10/86

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6 Responses to ““The Wall Will Fall. Beliefs Become Reality. W. Oz.” (Photo) and the 9 November Washington Post on East Germany”

  1. romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 said

    According to the following source, W. Oz. stood for the graffiti author, William Ozkaptan.

    The words President Reagan saw on the Berlin Wall, were not written by a young Berliner. The words were actually spray painted on the Berlin Wall by an American. On October 10, 1986, William Ozkaptan spray painted the words “The wall will fall. Beliefs become reality. W.Oz 10/10/86″.

    https://pogoprinciple.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/

    Any other details on the story behind this graffiti or how it entered history would be appreciated. Thank you!

  2. romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 said

    Here’s a photo from a few months after mine: http://www.grenzerinnerungen.de/bilder/vor-der-wende/berliner-mauer

  3. romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 said

    Actually, you can see the change in graffiti/additions between my 9 August 1987 and this 2 October 1987 photo!: http://www.grenzerinnerungen.de/bilder/vor-der-wende/berliner-mauer

  4. […] “The Wall Will Fall. Beliefs Become Reality. W. Oz.” (Photo) and the 9 November Washingt… […]

  5. William Ozkaptan said

    Dear romanianrevolutionofdecember1989,
    Thank you for posting this photo. I wrote those words late at night on 10 October 1986. I had worked in West Berlin with the US Army and traveled there many times before as a tourist. During this time, I probably told a couple hundred West and East Germans that the wall was coming down and Europe would be reunited. Not a single German ever agreed with me, so I wanted to leave this message for them in a very prominent place. The wall will fall. Beliefs become reality. and I signed it W.Oz 10/10/86″. There is more to story that I can share later on.
    Best regards, William Ozkaptan

  6. romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 said

    Wow! Dear Mr. Ozkaptan, how wonderful of you to find this site and to comment! I can’t say there is a great deal of traffic here, but I, and any future readers, would no doubt be very interested in hearing anything you might have to add about this iconic Cold War image. I can add to the text above if you wish. Thank you again, and I hope to hear what it was that gave you such optimism, such out-of-the-box thinking (I was only 23 when the wall was breached on 9 November 1989, but it still was the most unbelievable political event I had ever witnessed, or could have imagined, up to that point in my life). –Rich Hall

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