Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Police officers stood guard Sunday at the East Side Gallery, part of which was being removed to make way for new apartments.
I was at my parents´ home that day in November 1989 when Pink Floyd was performing The Wall, against the Berlin Wall, and everybody was expecting it to be torn down. And I remember my emotion when this happened.
But I´d never fully understood how it looked after the event and what had been left of it, until Phil Smith sent me a copy of a film made by the walking artist Kinga Araya. The film is called ‘Ten Steps’, it lasts 70 minutes, and it documents Kinga’s 2008 walk along the route of the Berlin Wall.
Apart from her walking experience, she explains how the remnants are intertwined with buildings, or left in domestic gardens, or just a piece of the foundations in parks, etc.
Today, the wall that was one of the horrors of the WW, the inspiration for so many artists, the tomb of so many, has become a monument of memories. An the Germans defend it.
Please keep on reading this interesting article:
In Berlin, a Protest to Keep What Remains of the Wall by Chris Cottrell. March 4, 2013
Photo by Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters
In November 1989, the Berlin Wall opened, and soon after was being torn to pieces by jubilant crowds from both sides. Almost a quarter of a century later, Berliners again took to the streets over the wall — only this time to protect what is left of it.
Late last week, when construction workers began dismantling a roughly 70-foot section of the wall’s longest remaining expanse — a nearly mile-long monument to peace that is covered in paintings and is known as the East Side Gallery — protesters turned up in droves. The first hastily organized demonstration on Friday drew several hundred, but over the weekend thousands of people massed to protect the huge concrete slabs from being relocated to an adjacent park.
They were particularly incensed that the project was to make way for an access road for new luxury apartments — helpful for a city whose budget could use bolstering from development, not so helpful for ordinary Germans.
“History should never be a luxury,” read one placard, capturing the protesters’ dismay over gentrification.
City officials and the developer, Maik Uwe Hinkel of Living Bauhaus, responded by noting that the space would also serve the construction of a nearby pedestrian bridge over the river, to replace one destroyed in World War II, according to the daily newspaper Berliner Zeitung.
Many residents view the remaining row of tall concrete slabs as an important testimonial to life in Communist East Germany, when the 28-mile barrier encircling West Berlin severely hampered their contact with the other side, and they are intent on keeping the East Side Gallery intact.
“It’s about letting future generations know what life was like for parts of this city, and at the same time reminding them of the joy that was felt upon reunification,” said Robert Muschinski, 50, an activist who helped organize the demonstrations.
A popular tourist attraction, the stretch of wall snakes along Berlin’s Spree River and is emblazoned with art from 1990 that was restored in 2008 — colorful graffiti and famous murals like the “Fraternal Kiss,” which shows the Soviet leader Leonid I. Brezhnev and his East German counterpart, Erich Honecker, locking lips.
The work crews removed only one four-foot-wide slab before the protesters blocked them. On Monday, Mr. Hinkel called off any further removals until a major meeting with the relevant players in the project set for March 18.
“I am dedicated to the preservation of this piece of the wall,” the German news agency dpa quoted Berlin’s mayor, Klaus Wowereit, as saying.
Walking the wall with Kinga Araya.
If you want to read about Kinga Araya´s experience walking the Berlin wall and buy the film, please click on this link:
East German border guards look through a gap in the Berlin Wall two days after it was breached, 11 November 1989. Photograph: GERARD MALIE/AFP/Getty Images
Read the article by John Henley