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Is anything left of the Berlin Wall

01:00 Tue 28th Aug 2001 |

asks Woolley
A.
It's 40 years since East Germany shocked the world by starting to build the barrier which became known as the Berlin Wall. The authorities claimed it was to protect against fascists, but it served to keep the East Germans in, to prevent them from gaining access to the West where there was better accommodation and better-paid jobs.


It's now almost 12 years since Germans from both the East and West began to knock it down with sledgehammers.


Q. What happened to the remnants of the Wall
A.
There's not much left of it now, just a few graffiti-covered blocks here and there. Most of the concrete wall has been bulldozed into rubble and sent all over the world to museums or as souvenirs - or hoarded by collectors.


One five-ton section of the wall even ended up in a hotel beer garden in China! (It vanished after a new extension was built and the hotel manager fears that the builders demolished it.)


Q. Does Checkpoint Charlie still exist

A. The famous crossover point was bulldozed in December last year by American property developers to make way for yet more offices and shops.


Q. And 'no-man's land'...
A.
The strip of land between the Berlin wall and the rear wall, with its electric fences, tank barriers, observation towers and guard houses is now covered with new offices and shopping centres. Rainer Hildebrandt, director of the Checkpoint Charlie Museum, said: 'There is not one single place in Berlin where you can see all the components of the wall at one time. It is a sin.'


Q. Why has no part of the wall been preserved
A.
German experts believe that no one has bothered to preserve the Wall because it represents a period of German history that most people would rather forget about. According to Maria Nooke, director of a documents centre at a section of the wall that has been preserved on Bernauer Strasse: 'When the wall fell, there was a feeling of liberation and people wanted to tear it down as fast as they possibly could.'


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By Sheena Miller

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