Berlin: Sections of the Berlin Wall in
danger of collapse will be restored, authorities said on Monday
ahead of the 50th anniversary of the closing of the border
between East and West Germany.
Concrete slabs along Bernauer Strasse, the site of
dramatic escape attempts during the Cold War and now of the
main Wall memorial, will be repaired by year's end, memorial
project director Guenter Schlusche said.
"Most of the damage was done by the Wall woodpeckers
between 1989 and 1991," Schlusche told AFP, using Berlin slang
for the souvenir-hunters who chipped away at the Wall after
the border opened on November 9, 1989.
"In addition, you have the natural deterioration
The sections include 175-metre-long (574-foot-long)
and 250-metre-long stretches as well as a fence measuring 140
metres, parts of the massive structure erected by East
Germany's communist authorities to stop an exodus of refugees
to the West.
"They need to be anchored better" to keep them from
keeling over, Schlusche said.
Initial stabilisation work will be completed by the
end of next week ahead of ceremonies marking the sealing of
the border on August 13, 1961 that will be led by Chancellor
Angela Merkel, who grew up in the communist East.
The remaining work, costing a total of 105,000 euros
(USD 151,000), will be finished by the end the year and
financed using funds seized from East Germany's ruling party
after German reunification in 1990.
Nearly 22 years since the Berlin Wall was pulled down
in a bloodless revolution, little of the despised structure is
still standing as much of it was sold off or carted away in
the ensuing euphoria.
More than 600 people are thought to have died trying
to escape East Germany in the 28 years the Wall was standing.
First Published: Monday, August 01, 2011, 22:51