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September 2003 - Nr. 9


The Editor
Antje berichtet
Elizabeth Kuehn
Dear Mom
Rachel Seilern
Over the Fence
Music Toronto
25 Years Musik
KW and Beyond
City Elections
Top Honor in Venice?
Toronto Film Festival
Mustard Festival
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Financial Advice
The White Wale
Planet in Focus
After the Flood
Sahara-Touristen frei
Berlin Wall
Comics Fair
Rediscover East Germany
Literary "Wunderkind"
350 Years of Opera
"German Trilogy"
New Element

Berlin Wall

Victims Remembered and Preservation Continues

 TWIG - Amid a recent wave of nostalgia for the former eastern German Democratic Republic, there remain sobering reminders of the human toll of the division between East and West. One such reminder occured on August 13, the date in 1961 when construction of the Berlin Wall began.

On the 42nd anniversary of this date, Berlin’s Governing Mayor Klaus Wowereit spoke of the atrocities committed in the name of this border, before laying a wreath at one of the Wall’s monuments in Bernauer Street near Checkpoint Charlie. "The focus of this ceremony is to honor all of the people who lost their lives or were harmed by the Wall or who continue to suffer even today as a result of it," Wowereit said.

Recent figures add 23 new names to the list of known victims of the division between East and West Germany, bringing the total to 1,008 people killed trying to make it to freedom in then West Germany between 1946 and 1989. Of those, 215 people died in attempts to cross the wall between East and West Berlin.

This long carnage ended surprisingly swiftly and peacefully on November 9, 1989, when the GDR regime allowed its citizens to cross the border freely, leading to a night of rejoicing at Berlin checkpoints and elsewhere. Nearly a year later on October 3, 1990, the Federal Republic of Germany was unified with the "new" states of the former GDR.

Preservation Effort
Arguing its role as an integral part of Germany’s past, local government leaders are pushing to preserve the remaining pieces of the Berlin Wall for future generations.

At the request of Berlin (city) Senator Peter Strieder, archeologist Leo Schmidt and a group of researchers from the Technical University of Cottbus in Brandenburg (BTU) have been conducting a survey of the last remnants of the 43 kilometer-long wall and have created an inventory list of the surviving sites, some of which are buried. Along the former strip of "no-man’s land," amidst the often indistinguishable rubble, they discovered lamps, signals, fences, walled-up windows, and traces of the Eastern Democratic Republic’s border police.

Larger and more prominent pieces were placed under protection as national historic monuments as early as 1989. But many parts of the wall have been removed by so-called "Wall-peckers" who flocked to the areas to chip away the Cold War era’s most fitting souvenir. In the meantime, the remnants of the Wall - even those fifteen sites already under protection - are crumbling away.

The Berlin Wall: History, Timeline, Figures
(http://www.germany-info.org/relaunch/welcome/berlin/berlin_wall1.html )
Haus am Checkpoint Charlie (German)


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