Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Berlin Wall Memorial uprooted for condo project

Remember Atkinson Tower, the one sitting on the fringe of Kota Kinabalu city?

It's a colonial clock tower and is one of the very few structures that are still standing today. The British built quite a number of things of historical value but in the name of modernisation (or the lack of it?) they were replaced or simply torn down.

The Atkinson Tower, also called Atkinson Clock Tower almost made a date with extinction in 2011 when a developer tried to lure the authority to build a multi-storey mixed-commercial complex  there.

Berlin Wall Memorial

Flip to the other side of the globe; the story-line is not too far different. Historic building and monument seem to be similarly less appreciated. Berlin Wall Memorial is one of them.

The Berlin Wall was built in 1961. Photo: pinkbigmac-BERLIN

What is Berlin Wall?

It was supposed to prevent East Berliners and citizens of East Germany from fleeing to the West, a time during which East Germany was ruled by the SED, the ruling Communist Party.

Who built it?

Hardline East German leader Walter Ulbricht gave the order to build after winning backing from Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.

People died trying to escape through the wall?

Varying estimates. Berlin prosecutors say 169 people were killed between August 13, 1961, and November 9, 1989. A recent study found that 1,065 people were killed trying to flee East Germany across all Cold War borders

An estimated 5,000 people reached West Berlin. More than 75,000 people were imprisoned for trying to leave East Germany without permission

And the "Death Strip"?

A border strip between the inner and outer segments of the wall in East Berlin is called the “death strip” because so many people were killed there while trying to flee.

When did the Berlin Wall fall?

The Berlin Wall that the SED used to maintain its power fell in 1989 during the downfall of East Germany that year.

Protests stall Berlin Wall removal

Section of the memorial wall has already been uprooted. AP Photo
(BERLIN) — Berliners are protesting as a construction company removes a section of a historic stretch of the Berlin Wall known as the East Side Gallery to provide access to a riverside plot where luxury condominiums are being built.

An approximately 20-meter (22-yard) stretch of the 1.3 kilometer (3/4 mile) section of wall is being removed by crews Friday while demonstrators look on.

Since German reunification, the stretch of the wall has been preserved as a historical monument and transformed into an open air gallery painted with colorful murals, and has become a popular tourist attraction.

District chairman Franz Schulz tells Bild newspaper that the section of the wall is being removed to allow access to a new luxury apartment building planned for the banks of the Spree river.
Source - Yahoo News, Mar 1, 2013.

Source and references:
a) The Times
b) Reuters Factbox
c) Photo by pinkbigmac-BERLIN

1 comment:

Adam said...

one of history's worst moments