Tag Archive | Berlin

Countdown: Best Places to Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall (besides Berlin)

This Sunday, November 9th, hundreds of thousands of people will gather in Berlin to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall with numerous events commemorating a quarter century of democracy in Eastern Europe, and ongoing hope for a world without walls. But if you can’t make it to Berlin to party like it’s 1989, there are plenty of opportunities stateside to mark the occasion with lectures, screenings, German beer tastings, and perhaps the chance to break out a sledgehammer and tear down a wall of your own. Here’s a roundup of the best events outside of Berlin commemorating the Peaceful Revolution.

7. University Art Museum at California State University, Long Beach, CA
The University Art Museum will play host to the the exhibition Barbara Klemm: Light and Dark, Photographs from Germany, an “exhibition of 124 iconic documentary photographs that capture forty years of cultural, social, and political history in Germany.” Tours of the exhibition will occur from 1-3pm this Sunday the 9th. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

History: 3/5
Culture: 4/5
Merrymaking: 1/5
Ability to tear down an actual wall: 0/5

6. Newseum – Washington, D.C.

newseum
Photo: The Newseum http://www.newseum.org/event/fall-of-the-wall-day/

This iconic museum in Washington, D.C. is celebrating with a full line-up of events on November 8th. The schedule includes two documentary screenings and programs with Author Mary Elise Sarotte and former ABC reporter Barrie Dunsmore. Additionally, the Newseum will offer tours of its Berlin Wall Gallery which features eight sections of the original wall.

History: 5/5
Culture: 3/5
Merrymaking: 1/5
Ability to tear down an actual wall: 0/5

5. Sauf Bier Haus, Washington, D.C.page2_pic11
Sauf Haus is a brand new biergarten in Washington, D.C., located downtown. They will be one of the only German bars on this side of the pond to throw a celebration in honor of the fall of the Berlin Wall, marking the occasion with a lesson on German beer and tasting this Sunday. Three different tastings are being offered throughout the day, each including three different beers, plus a sample of choice. Reserve tickets here for only $12.

Photo: Sauf Bier Haus http://saufhausdc.com/about-us/

History: 2/5
Culture: 3/5
Merrymaking: 5/5
Ability to tear down an actual wall: 0/5

4. Duke University, Durham, NC
A number of colleges and universities have erected their own version of the Berlin Wall on campus to commemorate the 25th anniversary of its fall. Duke’s version of the reenactment features a six-foot high version of the Berlin Wall constructed out of cardboard boxes, a choice that looses some points for historical accuracy, but is bound to lead to some very satisfying demolition on the 9th. The wall was constructed on November 2nd, and since then, community members have contributed messages and spray paint, including an excellent rendition of the My God, Help Me to Survive this Deadly Love mural, a favorite of the East Side Gallery. The German Department urges students to “come in your most appalling 80s garb to hear a little bit about Berlin’s Cold War past and to destroy the wall” this Sunday at 3pm.

History: 2/5
Culture: 2/5
Merrymaking: 3/5
Ability to tear down an actual wall: 4/5

3. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VAsymposium
UVA has partnered with the German Embassy to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall with a series of events. A weeklong symposium includes an enviable array of lectures, screenings, and discussions leading up to this Sunday the 9th. The symposium will be capped off by a Moment of Remembrance on campus.

History: 5/5
Culture: 5/5
Merrymaking: 2/5
Ability to tear down an actual wall: 0/5

Image: University of Virginia  http://www.virginia.edu/arts/berlinwall/sunday.php#ceremony

2. University of Arizona, Tuscon, AZfall_of_the_wal_final_-_small
Another partner school with the German Embassy in Washington, ASU is hosting a range of activities, including the tearing down of a wall of boxes on Hayden Lawn. One of ASU’s roundtables with faculty will “engage the historical context of Nov. 9 against the backdrop of other highly charged events associated with the Nov. 9 date, such as the 1938 Nazi pogrom [kristallnacht].” This discussion of the historical context is a program that seems to be unique to ASU but represents an important layer to consider in the commemoration of this date. German history is complicated enough that it’s rather fitting that one of the nations’ darkest hours of tyranny and its most triumphant embrace of liberty should have occurred on the same day. Kudos to ASU for discussing both.

History: 5/5
Culture: 4/5
Merrymaking: 2/5
Ability to Tear Down an Actual Wall: 3/5

Image: University of Arizona https://asunews.asu.edu/20140930-berlin-wall-fall-anniversary

1. Davidson College, Davidson, NCdavidson
Davidson College has put together a complete package of events to celebrate this year’s anniversary in partnership with the German Embassy. This week, events have included: “an “Eyewitness to History” panel, a Berlin Wall trivia contest, a staged reading of a banned play, visits by local and international dignitaries and a Nov. 5 keynote address by an elder statesman of Germany’s reunification, who also was Davidson’s first German exchange student after World War II.” Davidson has also constructed its own Berlin Wall (made of particle board – decent aesthetics, satisfying destruction) which will be torn down this Sunday at 6pm, accompanied by “triumphant music and rousing speeches and Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit [unity and justice and freedom] for all…and Bratwurst….and Döner vegetarisch.” Hard to beat that!

History: 5/5
Culture: 4/5
Merrymaking: 3/5
Ability to tear down an actual wall: 5/5

Photo: Davidson College  http://sites.davidson.edu/german/101-102/mauer-fotos-vom-29-10-2014/

The high quality and well-rounded series of events pushed Davidson over the top; congratulations to the College on earning the distinction of Best Place to Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall (besides Berlin)!

Berlin Wall #2

Image

I was oddly delighted to find this little cafe less than 50 feet from the Buffer Zone in Nicosia. A lot of the buildings near the BZ were dilapidated and graffiti-covered, their owners having fallen prey to economic hardship when the UN made their location less than desirable. But here was one small establishment making the best of it by styling themselves after one of the most infamous icons of the 20th century. I had to smile.

The parallels between Nicosia and Berlin are so obvious that it is a legitimate marketing tactic to draw a comparison between the UN Buffer Zone and the Iron Curtain. Trading a little historical accuracy in exchange for name recognition, oddball kitsch, and a hip-sounding analogy seems like a decent deal to me.

There is also a prominently placed sign near the Lidra Street crossing, just above the police hut. It bears the name of the city in Greek, followed by “The Last Divided Capital” in English, French and German. The languages suggest that the sign is intended for tourists, but it’s not a marketing ploy; it reads like an epitaph. What, then, is the purpose of the sign? To remind visitors of the severeness of the Cyprus problem? To place Nicosia in the historical record? To align the city with other ‘reunified’ capitals as a message of hope? It made me feel better to note that this sign was affixed to plywood, propped between two buildings; it looked temporary.

Solutions

These walls were all intended as solutions.

“Israeli Security Fence”

Bethlehem, Palestinian Territories

“United Nations Buffer Zone”

Nicosia/Lefkosa, Cyprus

“Peace Wall”

Cupar Way, Belfast, Northern Ireland

“Anti-Fascist Protection Wall”

Berlin, Germany