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196-foot section of Berlin Wall demolished ‘almost overnight’ to make way for condos

Berlin Wall (joey zanotti/Flickr)

A larger portion of the Berlin Wall has been demolished to make way for luxury condos.

The 196-foot piece of the concrete barrier which separated Berlin — both physically and ideologically — from 1961 to 1989 “was torn down almost overnight,” according to the German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel.

The Berlin Wall Foundation, an organization founded in 2008 to maintain the remains of the wall while cultivating its history, said it wasn’t informed of the demolition plans.

Manfred Wichmann, the head of the foundation, told the publication that, “the partial demolition of the continuous piece of the hinterland wall … is a clear loss of original wall remains.”

According to artnet News, the section was part of the Hinterlandmauer, or inner wall section, which was installed in the 1970s, as a reinforcement to the original barrier built in 1961.

“This part belongs to a section that was originally several hundred meters long and was located along the Berlin-Stettin railway line,” Wichmann told the Berliner Woche last year.

S\u00f6ren Marotz, an historian with the GDR Museum in Berlin, added that, “This hinterland wall was designed to prevent anyone from getting onto the tracks and maybe fleeing west.”

The torn down piece was located in the Berlin neighborhood of Pankow, in a corner of an overgrown green area that was mostly visited by graffiti artists.

Since the stretch of the wall had no special historical designation, developers didn’t have to adhere to any special procedures before the demolition.

Wichmann described the demolished piece as “a stone witness of how deeply the border regime of the German Democratic Republic intervened in the everyday life of the people in East Berlin.”

Last year, during the celebrations for the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Berlin Wall Foundation along with the GDR Museum announced plans to preserve the Pankow section, as it was one of the largest pieces still remaining.

Outside the already memorialized stretches, less than a mile of the original wall remains, according to Wichmann.

Now “they are disappearing more and more,” he added.


© 2020 New York Daily News