On September 11, 2010 the world lost an amazing artist and political activist to lung cancer. Her name was Barbel Bohley and most people would not recognize her accomplishments. However, she was a key figure that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Born in post war savaged Berlin in 1945, she experienced the division of Germany.
Bohley started her life as an artist in her early thirties. Her art was part abstract and figurative with expressive brushworks. Just like her bold art, her voice and conviction for social justice stood out. She objected to the military machine and the threat of nuclear attack from the West.
According to Dan van der Vat of the The Guardian: “As an idealist she never found a settled place in the complex political maneuvers and changing alliances that preceded and followed unification. She had no ambition for office and opposed the headlong rush to unification, advocating a measured approach. Her accurate warnings of adverse social and economic consequences went unheeded.”
As a result, she was vehemently opposed to women being drafted. In 1982, she formed Women for Peace to prove the point. She received many awards including the Federal Cross of Merit and Germany’s top medal.
It’s no wonder she was known as the “mother of peaceful revolution.”