Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich is considered to have been the greatest cellist of the 20th century.
About nine year before that mythical concert of Rostropovich, I was in Berlin; I was very young then and probably, like many young people, I walked through things without fully realize their global dimension. But it would have been impossible for anyone to not realize what an absurd and tragic concrete metaphor of oppression that real wall in the middle of a town was.
For reasons I consider useless to mention, I crossed the border through the Berlin Wall from Eastern to Western Germany and in a little unusual way I walked through the famous Checkpoint Charlie instead of being on a tourist coach. From a certain point of view, my young exuberance made me feel like a character of a spy story, but at the same time I could not help perceiving the tragic absurdity of those soldiers on the turrets which carried their Kalashnikov or whatever their machine gun were.
I had my passport and my visa. Even though all was in order with my papers I felt somehow scared when they checked that with a stern attention. Then only a few steps and I found myself in Unter den Linden Boulevard with all the restaurants and cafes and the voluntary display of abundance and elegance, which made even more impressive the contrast with the gloomy style of eastern Berlin.
It was totally surrealistic: two faces of the same town so different and stuck to each other and it was so difficult even for visitors to go through and impossible for the people who lived east.
A place that doesn’t exist anymore, a time which is over. I have seen that with my own eyes; at least I’m sure I won’t forget.