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What can we expect if Trump's wall goes up? We asked people who'd know — the Germans.


Sixteen-year-old Jasmin Schulz wasn't alive when the Berlin Wall fell, but she grew up learning about its consequences.

"Now in the 21st century, you think to yourself like: why? Because it doesn’t make sense," Schulz said while visiting the barricade on a class field trip.

President Trump pledged to build a wall along the country's southern border as a means of preventing illegal immigration to the United States. On the campaign trail he described a "big, beautiful wall" and promised Mexico would pay for it.

For many in Berlin, Trump's words evoked painful memories of their own infamous wall.

"I think that back then it didn’t bring anything but sadness," Jasmin Kassem, 16, said. "I think that will happen again."

"I was immediately reminded of Berlin."
Kassem, on Trump's proposed border wall

In a statement released in January, Berlin Mayor Michael Müller drew historical parallels: "Berlin — the city which stands for the separation of Europe as well as the freedom of Europe — cannot watch silently as another country plans to build a wall."

Of course, there is a major difference between Trump's plan and the Berlin Wall: one would keep people out and the other was constructed to keep people in.

For nearly 30 years, residents of East Germany were prevented from fleeing to the capitalist, democratic West Germany. But on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came crashing down. Thousands of East Germans flooded its gates, putting an end to the city's decades of division.

Many of the Germans interviewed by Circa said their own experience with a barricade was proof walls don't work.
"Trump’s idea of a wall is totally stupid just like it was then," Berliner Nils Poppinghaus said while standing in front of one of the city's graffiti-covered sections of the wall.

"I think the basic motivation is unfortunately the same: fear."

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