A talk and film screening to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall will be held at Leeds Beckett University on Friday 7 November.

The event, ‘The Iron Curtain Kid – Growing up on the Wrong Side of the Berlin Wall’, is being led by Oliver Fritz, author of the 2012 book ‘The Iron Curtain Kid’ and expert on the former East Germany. It will take place at the University’s Rose Bowl building in Lecture Theatre F.

Oliver will be talking from 3pm to 4.30pm about his experiences of growing up in East Berlin and witnessing the fall of the wall in 1989. From 4.30pm to 5pm there will be refreshments and an exhibition to view, created by Visual Arts and History students, followed by the screening of the Oscar-winning 2007 film, ‘The Lives of Others’.

‘The Lives of Others’ tells the story of Stasi, an agent in East Berlin in 1984 who is assigned to conduct surveillance on a writer and his lover and who finds himself becoming increasingly involved in their lives.

Event organiser and Senior Lecturer in History at Leeds Beckett, Dr Kelly Hignett, commented: “Between its construction in August 1961 and its destruction in November 1989, the Berlin Wall divided a city, a nation and symbolised the ‘Iron Curtain’ that separated Western Europe from the communist Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. In November 1989, when the Berlin Wall finally crumbled, live images showing thousands of Germans celebrating by hacking at the hated structure with hammers and pick-axes were transmitted around the world, creating one of the most iconic moments of the revolutions of 1989: the collapse of communism and the end of the Cold War.

“This November marks the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall fall, and various commemorative events are planned in Berlin and elsewhere across Europe. The Centre for Culture and the Arts is delighted to be hosting an event to mark this historic occasion here in Leeds.”

Oliver Fritz was born in 1967 in East Berlin, where he worked for several years in the country’s foreign trade industry before concentrating on working for East German state television, appearing in more than 150 movies and TV productions. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, he moved to the UK. Today, Oliver is a writer, translator, editor and an expert on the former East Germany and the Berlin Wall. He has appeared on the Jeremy Vine show and BBC Newsnight. Oliver’s book, ‘The Iron Curtain Kid’, tells the story of his life in East Germany.

The event, which has been organised and funded by the University’s Centre for Culture and the Arts, is free and open to the public. Places can be booked by visiting http://bit.ly/IronCurtainKid



For further details please contact Carrie Braithwaite in the Communications team at Leeds Beckett on 0113 812 3022 or email c.braithwaite@leedsbeckett.ac.uk


Notes for editors:


  • Leeds Beckett University was previously Leeds Metropolitan University.
  • Leeds Beckett University has around 32,000 students and just over 3,000 staff.
  • The Vice Chancellor of Leeds Beckett University is Professor Susan Price and the Chancellor is Sir Bob Murray CBE.
  • Leeds Beckett’s four faculties are: Arts, Environment and Technology, Business & Law, Health and Social Sciences, and Carnegie.
  • Leeds Beckett University is the only university in the UK to have achieved both the Customer Service Excellence standard, Investors in People Gold and the RoSPA Gold medal.
  • The Destination of Leavers in Higher Education (DLHE) showed that the proportion of Leeds Beckett 2012/13 graduates in work, further study or both six months after leaving university was 93.7%.