Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Stealth Wall Removal

[Image: This is a photo of a section of the Berlin Wall taken back in 1997 outside of the Postsdamer Platz in Berlin. I could not find a photo of the precise section that was removed with total confidence, but for more photos of the wall in this neighborhood visit Dailysoft.]

It looks like over the weekend the German government conducted a little stealth engineering mission. When residents near Potsdamer Platz in the centre of the once historically-divided city woke up to start their week, they found that an 18m high section of the Berlin Wall, one of the last few remaining remnants, had been completely removed.
Needless to say, people were shocked, some outraged, what had happened to the monumental fragments of their deepest history? If the wall were to be completely obliterated from the landscape, what physical evidence of this heritage would remain?
The BBC reports that the owner of that section of the wall had purchased it "from an East German border guard in the summer of 1990, shortly before German reunification on 3 October 1990." The demolitions as you may remember began in 1989. He had even previously been to court to have the section of the wall preserved as a cultural monument.
Nevertheless, this portion of the wall was removed without any dialogue with him or public notification, it was in fact conducted so privately that officials hoped it wouldn't even be noticed!
The whole incident has turned into a media fiasco when their secret plan failed.
Hilarious. Just now they have owned up to the fact that it was them and not some renegade anarchist wall removal crew that had some tourists and locals speculating. They say, the missing piece will be somehow re-incorporated into a new environment ministry building that is being built along side the Postsdamer Platz, according to a spokesman for the Federal Civil Engineering and Planning Office.
Anyway, something to keep your eyes on. And I thought it was actually a marvel of activism that may be replicated in other parts of the world. Oh well.
In the meantime, check out this earlier post on a proposed project using lasers and lights to trace an entire outline of the Berlin Wall's early geographic path for the 2009 20th anniversary celebration of its destruction: Wall(s) of Light.

Some more reports here:
The continued fall of the Berlin Wall
One of Last Remaining Chunks of Berlin Wall Disappears


Blogger Erin K. said...

Ever heard the addage "one man's trash is another man's treasure?" Well one man's embarrassment is another's triumph. It's funny that it would be the German government that was so set on getting rid of a piece of that wall though. Divided Berlin tore their already devestated country apart.

5:55 PM  

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