Berlin, 18th March 1997. Maximilian Mittelstädt is welcomed to the world in the German capital, exactly 2686 days after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Despite the historical event occurring long before his birth, it shaped the Hertha lad’s childhood. "My grandparents were separated from their family by the wall, which was very sad," he revealed. This Saturday, 9th November 2019, it will be 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Ahead of this special anniversary, Hertha’s number 17 spoke to us in an interview about his personal relationship with the fall of the wall, the Berlin derby defeat and the task at hand against RasenBallsport Leipzig (15:30 CET).
herthabsc.de: Maxi, you were born almost eight years after the Berlin Wall came down. Can you remember how you were first confronted with this historic event, and how much did you occupy yourself with it?
Mittelstädt: Growing up as a Berlin boy here in the city, you’re frequently confronted with the topic, both at home and at school. I went to the Berlin Wall memorial site with my school class back then as well. It’s definitely an event steeped in history, with great significance for us. I’ve looked into the topic a lot – my family were affected by the events, so they were a big part of my childhood.
herthabsc.de: As someone born and bred in Berlin, do you look back on the events differently from someone living further away?
Mittelstädt: When your family was affected, as mine was, the fall of the Berlin Wall is of great significance. For comparison, I couldn’t tell you much at all about the Great Wall of China and the Chinese won’t concern themselves too much with the Berlin Wall. So yes, for someone from Berlin, someone affected by it, the whole subject has a completely different meaning. My grandparents were separated from their family by the wall, which was obviously very sad. It gets talked about in our family a lot. Obviously it’s different for me than it is for my parents, but the stories and conversations are naturally really interesting to me. Families being torn apart by the wall is not something we should look back on lightly. A person’s family is the most important thing in their life, and for that to be taken away from someone is very sad. We should be glad today that we enjoy the freedom of movement.
herthabsc.de: On Saturday it will be 30 years since the fall. The club is honouring the anniversary with the season campaign ‘Wir sind ein Berliner,’ which includes special jerseys and numerous initiatives on the coming matchday: What do you make of all this?
Mittelstädt: The initiatives are fantastic. The club has a large sphere of influence, so it is very important to draw attention to this anniversary, because the topic still affects people nowadays. In that respect it’s a cool campaign. I’m already noticing that there is more going on around the game than usual. Nevertheless, we are preparing for the game against Leipzig as normal. We all know what they are capable of right now.