Berlin Wall is Making Headlines in Berlin, California and the World


While the world witnessed how Berliners stood up for the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall not to be removed last month, two other Berlin Wall segments found a permanent home in Mountain View, California.

A few days before Easter shortly before dawn construction workers started with the removal of the famous ‘East Side Gallery’ in Berlin, the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall (1.3 km long), and an international memorial for freedom. The reason behind it: The East Side Gallery needed to make way for a luxury apartment complex. Despite days of protest and even a short-lived halt of the project, when politicians tried to find a solution for keeping this famous section of the Berlin Wall untouched, the developer was ultimately given permission to proceed with his project after all.

As the international community followed the unfolding of events, Berliners were stunned and plainly shocked.  “I can’t believe they came here in the dark in such a sneaky manner,” said Kani Alavi, the head of the East Side Gallery’s artists’ group. “All they see is their money, they have no understanding for the historic relevance and art of this place.” By mid morning people witnessed in disbelief how a 6 meter gap was guarded by a wooden fence and protected by police.

And…that’s not all. The controversial project continues to make headlines. Latest news unveil that the investor behind this project, Maik Uwe Hinkel, had apparently strong ties to East Germany’s communist party SED (Socialist Unity Party),and in fact may have been a spy for East Germany’s notorious secret police, the Stasi, so the news magazine ”SPIEGEL” in its report “Stasi Suspicions: Berlin Wall Developer’s Past in Question”.

Mountain View in CALIFORNIA becomes Home to two Berlin Wall Segments

On the other side of the world in the meantime two large segments of the Berlin Berlin Wall  Mountain_View,_CaliforniaWall found a permanent home in a much quieter venture and with much less media attention.

The more than 10 feet tall donated wall sections depict a caricature of Elvis Presley on one slab and a heart with the words “Wir lieben Dich” on the other. They were previously displayed at an office park, before they got donated to the city last year by the family of Frankfurt native Frank Golzen, who had purchased them after the wall came down in 1989.  “These pieces of the Berlin Wall remind me that freedom is not free. Freedom is paid for in blood,” said Bahl, a local resident who had urged the city council to pick a spot that offered good public visibility.  The famous slabs will now greet visitors to the public library at Franklin Street in Mountain View.

Villa Aurora in L.A. features Documentary on the Berlin Wall in May 2013

In connection with the Pacific Palisades Film Festival, Villa Aurora in L.A. is presenting the documentary “Bis an die Grenze – Up to the border”.

On the basis of extraordinary, widely unknown recordings and found footage, Claus Oppermann und Gerald Grote’s first feature film tells many impressive but forgotten stories about the rise of the Berlin Wall in 1961 to its fall in 1989, about the division of Germany and a bloody borderline through the middle of Europe.

In this unique film one can see how on the historical Sunday of August 13th 1961, the government of the German Democratic Republic lays the foundation stone for the “ugliest monument in the world”. An event that puts a whole city in a state of shock. The “atrocious century-construction“ is at first watched in disbelief. Then people start pulling their 8mm-cameras out of their cupboards to capture the images of the events.

“Bis an die Grenze – Up to the border”
A documentary by Claus Oppermann and Gerald Grote
(Germany, 2011, 95 min)
Thursday, May 2 @ 7:00 p.m. 
At Villa Aurora, Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles

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The East Side Gallery is the longest remaining...

The East Side Gallery is the longest remaining part of the Berlin Wall. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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