Le 28 novembre, nous aurons le plaisir de recevoir Axel Klausmeier, directeur de la fondation “Le mur de Berlin” et de son musée. Son intervention sera en anglais.
The Berlin Wall was the Icon of the Cold War. It symbolized the divided world until its political fall in November 1989. Today, not much is left of its once 155 kilometer-long structure, although it is famous all over the world.
The story of the bloodless revolution that led to the sudden fall of the Wall on 9 November 1989 has often been told. In spite of warning voices, there was a broad consensus in favour of clearing away the hated border surrounding West-Berlin as thoroughly as possible. Official demolition, carried out mostly by GDR Border Guards, began on 13 June 1990, in Bernauer Strasse, and was largely completed by the 3 October 1990, the day of German reunification. Thanks to efforts initiated by GDR Institute for Heritage Conservation as early as December 1989, and continued by the Berlin State Conservation Authority, a total of seven sections of the Wall and other border installations were listed and have been preserved as officially designated Historic Monuments by 1992. By 2011, this number had risen to 27, following intensive field research in and around Berlin.
Whilst Berliners and their politicians had, all through the 1990s, mostly tried to forget the time of the division and to ignore the remnants and scars of the Wall in their city, the early 21st century has seen the rise of a new awareness of the Wall‘s significance, culminating in celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall. The Stiftung Berliner Mauer (Berlin Wall Foundation), funded in 2008 jointly by the Federal Republic of Germany and the Land of Berlin, and its Landscape of Memory and Documentation Centre in Bernauer Strasse, both of which grew out of a private initiative in the 1990s, are a result of this new policy. Today, the Berlin Wall Foundation is responsible for looking after four prominent former Wall sites with a total of approximately 4 Million visitors a year.
How are these precious physical remains being treated? What stories are being told in a World of an ever-greater number of new Walls? What does the Berlin Wall stand for today?