A German man has discovered an 80-metre-section of the Berlin Wall that had been previously considered to be dismantled. Hobby historian, Christian Bormann, discovered the section of the wall in 1999 in the quiet northern Berlin suburb of Schönholz, but kept it secret until now. The local government office responsible for monuments apparently did not know about the existence of this part of the wall until he informed them.
The German Democratic Republic in east Germany began assembling the wall on 13 August 1961 to separate west Berlin from virtually all of surrounding East Germany and East Berlin. It was hastily constructed out of rolls of barbed wire and by fortifying pre-existing walls initially as a desperate measure by the GDR to stop the sustained brain and brawn drain it had experienced since its founding in 1949. The final version of the wall as a chain of concrete slabs was constructed between 1975 and 1980, complete with death strips and watch towers.
The wall remained in place until 1989, after which it was demolished, save for a couple of sections in the city centre that serve as memorial sites and tourist attractions. The section discovered by Bormann is an example of the original structure and is a remnant from the very first years of the wall’s existence. It is situated in a fairly obscure location between a cemetery and the tracks of the S-Bahn railway in a wood in Schönholz in the northern part of the city.
Christian has now made his discovery public by publishing a post on his personal blog. He has also made contact with local officials in the hope that they will move to preserve the historic site, because he has observed storm damage at the site and is concerned that its condition places it in danger of collapse.
To read Christian’s blog, see here.