The Berlin Wall, the most potent symbol of Cold War division of Germany, finally fell on Nov 9,1989. Small sections of it survive in parts of Berlin in Germany, preserved as memorials.
In the euphoria that followed its fall, bits of the monstrous concrete barrier were torn down, smashed up or sold off. Some of these historical remains are now scattered across the world.
There is a piece of the Berlin Wall in Rome, Italy, discretely hidden in the Vatican Gardens, close to the Pope’s workplace. Emblazoned on it is a picture of St Michael’s Church in Berlin and street art in the form of a blue smiley. It’s not easy to see, because the Vatican Gardens are only accessible to registered visitors.
In a small square in the centre of Seoul in South Korea there are three large segments of the Wall. Indistinct graffiti is plastered over its smooth surface, and in front of it stands a bear (the emblem of Berlin), painted blue. The pieces of wall were presented by the Berlin State Senate in 2005 to stand as a memorial, but also as a sign of hope for the reunification of Korea, a country that has been divided for 70 years.
Every day journalists, politicians, bureaucrats and tourists pass by a short section of the Wall in front of the main building of the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium. The European Union bought it 10 years ago to stand as a symbol for the reunification of Europe. Protected by a glass case, it shows a portrait of the assassinated US President John F. Kennedy (who famously said Ich bin ein Berliner/I am a Berliner, during a 1963 speech in the city), embedded within the US flag.
In the capital of Russia, a piece of the Wall is exhibited on the grounds of a German school, and forms an important part of its history curriculum. The section was transported by truck from Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz to Moscow five years ago. Another section stands near the Sakharov Centre, which hosts exhibitions on topics such as human rights.
A 2.4-tonne original part of the Berlin Wall somehow turned up in Australia. The well preserved, nearly 4m-high piece lay forgotten in a warehouse in Sydney for more than a decade. The local Goethe-Institute, which promotes German culture around the world, says the section has the slogan “Everyone has strength” scrawled across it. The city’s authorities now want to display the fragment in a public park. – dpa