Thursday, October 22, 2020
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A bit of the Berlin Wall makes its way to the White House

A segment of the Berlin Wall arrived at the White House on Saturday (November 9), the 30th anniversary of the fall of the wall, with a letter addressed to President Trump, who has made his plans to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S. a central part of his presidency. 

Brought to Washington by the Open Society as part of its “Wall against Walls” initiative, the 2.7-tonne wall was anchored to a trailer and had a letter written on it which read: 

“It (the Berlin Wall) divided not only Berlin and Germany, but the whole world. Too many people died trying to cross it- their only crime being their desire to be free. Today, the world celebrates the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Germany is united again and in Berlin only a few scattered pieces remind us that no wall lasts forever. For decades the United States played a major role in bringing this wall down. We would like to give you one of the last pieces of the failed Berlin Wall to commemorate the United States’ dedication to building a world without walls,” signed “citizens of Berlin.” 

Open Society representative Joerg Waschescio denied that the project was specifically targeting Trump’s support for building a border wall along the country’s southwest border. 

“So this wall is not a statement against any specific wall. It’s more like a general statements against walls in our societies, physical walls, like this piece of the Berlin Wall, but also like walls in the people’s minds, walls that divide societies. Yeah. And this piece hopefully inspires and reminds the president and the people of the United States that it was once U.S. was fighting in the forefront of the coalition against walls in our society.”

The Secret Service did not allow the team to leave the wall but representative Marcos Cline said they were undeterred and would drive around the city, allowing Americans to read their message and photograph the wall. 

“We’ll give people the opportunity to come up, to touch it, to to view it, to read it, to take pictures of it. Because I think it’s imperative. I mean, this is such an important part of history,” he said. 

The Berlin Wall, which came down in 1989, separated the Communist-ruled East from the capitalist West in Berlin for nearly three decades and became a potent symbol of the Cold War. One year after it was toppled, Germany reunified in 1990.

(Production: Greg Savoy, Arlene Eiras)

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