I’d seen this photo so many times but never really knew much about the details behind it. So here goes …
It’s official title is “My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love.” It’s also often referred to as the “Fraternal Kiss.” It was painted by Dmitri Vrubel and is one of the most well-known paintings at the East Side Gallery.
In 1979 these two dudes, former Soviet head Leonid Brezhnev and East German leader Erich Honecker, kissed each other at a 30th-anniversary celebration of the founding of the German Democratic Republic.
A “socialist fraternal kiss” is a greeting between statesmen of Communist countries and is usually an embrace combines with 3 kisses on alternate cheeks. When the leaders were very close, it wasn’t unusual to kiss on the mouth instead.
This particular kiss, however, was considered to be rather more enthusiastic than usual and the moment was captured in an iconic photo by Regis Bossu. It was published in one publication, then another, rapidly spreading around the world and finally, displayed here on the Berlin Wall for generations who were too young for the original.