The tree house on the Berlin wall


On 13 August 1961, the German Democracy Republic built the Berlin wall. What actually happened was that , since they constructed it in just one night, they made a mistake. In fact, they left a little island of land , which belonged to the East part of Berlin, on the West side of the wall, specifically in the district of Kreuzberg . In this way the West German government could do nothing with it. Thus, it remained unused.
This unique story begins in 1984, when the Turkish guest worker Osman Kalin, who lived in Kreuzberg, saw this empty bit of land that people used as a dustbin and decided to do something with it even if it was a very unappealing bit of land. So he cleaned it up and turned it in a vegetable garden. He started to grow vegetable and fruits and shared them with everybody around him and he also built a tree house by recycling random unused materials. But one day, the east German guards began to be suspicious because he was illegally exploiting one of the east German proprieties. They also thought he used it to build subterranean passages underneath the wall to help people escaping to the West. Indeed, the garden was set in one of the thinnest parts of the wall and around this area there were about 24 secret tunnels. For this reason, the guards controlled anywhere around the tree house , and they realised he was not building tunnels : he was just a very friendly man who grew vegetables for his community. So the East German government gave him the permission to stay there legally and grow vegetables. But in 1989, with the fall of the wall, it became more complicated because when the reunification happened, the permission was no longer valid. In 2004, the united Berlin authorities actually attended to force him off this land in order to build a road in that exact place. But the day before the guards went to take down the house tree, Osman and his community cemented everything in the ground, so that they could not remove it. Everybody in the local neighbour supports him, even the nearby Church came up and wanted him to remain in this land. Because of all the support he gained, the Berlin government allowed him to stay there. However the only way to get the land was to buy it. So the state sold this propriety for 1 euro, the lowest amount they could offer. This kind man passed away last year, but his family is still looking after his precious land and they are planning to turn the tree house in a little museum. The story of this lovely man has become an important symbol of solidarity and kindness in the history of this troubled town. His actions proved that goodness is the first step towards peace.