Short Story Review: ‘No one Has Any Intention of Building a Wall’ by Ruth Brandt

Story Title: ‘No one Has Any Intention of Building a Wall’ by Ruth Brandt
Collection/Anthology?: Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology 4 (Bristol Review of Books)
Date Read: 15th March 2012
Briefly: It’s the 12th August 1961 in Berlin, and fourteen-year-old Gabi Liebknecht is standing outside her grandmother’s apartment on Bernauer Strasse, in the calm of the evening. It’s very much the calm before the storm, because the apartment blocks on this particular street are the ones which mark the dividing line between what will become, during this night, East and West Berlin.
Afterthoughts: I love short stories that dramatise real events, and this one does just that, and in a very frank and sympathetic way. Bristol-born Brandt dramatically brings to life the harrowing events that took place on Bernauer Strasse, as East Berlin becomes separated from the West. Brandt uses the story to pay tribute to the residents of Bernauer Strasse, but more poignantly she honours Ida Siekmann, the first person to die as a consequence of this East/West division. It’s a sad story but it’s an important one, and I praise the author for telling it, and in such a good way.

Interestingly, the title for Brandt’s story is a quote from Walter Ulhricht, Head of the DDR, who gave this reassurance on 14th June 1961, two short months before the fateful day. Thinking back on what he would have known then, is nothing short of chilling.

Rating: ★★★★☆

This story was read as part of a review of the Bristol Review of Books Anthology 4. If you want to find out more about this collection then I invite you to pop along to my forethoughts post for this title. I also encourage you to make a trip over to the publisher page for this title.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).


  1. Yup, I must get myself this collection.