Published Date Written by Barbara TetreaultBERLIN – A German filmmaker/photographer was in the city earlier this week working on a documentary for the 50th anniversary of President John Kennedy's famous speech in Berlin, Germany, in which he declared "Ich bin ein Berliner (I am a Berliner).
Henning Schulze of Moodmacher Creative Studio said he is visiting seven communities on the East Coast named Berlin. His assignment, he said, is to take a different approach to the anniversary by looking at how Berliners in America are faring.
Kennedy uttered his famous phase twice in his June 26, 1963 speech as he stood on a platform in the shadow of the wall that divided Germany into two zones. Two years earlier, the Soviet Union had erected the wall to stop the exodus of people fleeing communist East Germany for the freedom of the democratic West Germany. In his speech, Kennedy took aim at communism and sought to assure West Berliners of American support.
"There are many people in the world who really don't understand - or say they don't – what is the greatest issue between the free world and Communist world. Let them come to Berlin," he said.
"Freedom," Kennedy said, "has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect. But we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in."
The speech, delivered before a crowd of about 450,000, was greeted with cheers and enthusiasm. Historians consider it one of Kennedy's best speeches.
Schulze noted there are more than 50 communities named Berlin in the United States. With the anniversary fast approaching, he said he did not have time to travel all across the country. Instead the decision was made to spend ten days in the United States, focusing on the eastern part of the country where Europeans first came to the United State.
After flying into New York City Monday, Schulze said his first stop was Berlin, New Hampshire. He met with Mayor Paul Grenier and then stopped at the Berlin Daily Sun office on Main Street. He also walked around the city talking to residents. Schulze noted the two cities face very different problems. He said he understands Berlin, N.H. is looking to diversify its industrial base to attract high tech companies. He said Grenier expressed concern about the loss of young people moving to find jobs and the graying of the population here. Schulze said he also was told the city is working to reduce its surplus housing.
On the other hand, Schulze said his city is popular with Internet and start-up companies and attracts young people seeking to work in those industries. He said the popularity of the city has caused it to become gentrified and affordable living space is hard to find. Germany's overall economy is weak and Schulze said the result is a city that is "poor but sexy".
Schulze said he is scheduled to visit Berlins in New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maryland, and Pennsylvania as well as Berlin Township in New Jersey.
Moodmacher describes itself as a studio that specializes in the field of lifestyle and new media and works in music videos, commercials, documentaries, and still photography. It was founded in 2007 and is based in Berlin, Hamburg, and Zurich Germany.