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   Date: 11/5/09 Bookmark and Share

Sign Recalls the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Click on the signs for an enlarged view.

As part of a commemoration by the German department of the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago this month, a replica of the sign once found at border crossings from West Berlin to East Berlin has been installed on Chapin Lawn near the Campus Center.

The sign, which bears the wording of signs near the Berlin Wall, will be on display through November 9, the historic day in 1989 when crowds of East Germans were allowed to climb over and cross the wall into West Berlin, paving the way for German reunification.

Commemoration of the Fall of the Wall November 9, 1989

This is a replica of the sign that stood at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, the fabled border crossing at which members of the Allied Forces—the United States, Britain, and France—had to cross from West to East Berlin. Similar signs separated the Allied and Soviet sectors after the division of Germany into two states, the Federal Republic of Germany (FDR) and the German Democratic Republic (GDR), in 1949. Signs and checkpoints represented a demarcation rather than a barrier until work on the Berlin Wall began on August 13, 1961. Checkpoint Charlie—where "Charlie" stands for the letter "c" in the NATO alphabet—became the site of a stand-off between Soviet and Allied tanks on October 25, 1961, and thereafter a symbol of the Cold War. It is familiar from pictures and movies and serves for instance as the setting for the opening scene of Martin Ritt’s film adaptation of The Spy Who Came In From The Cold (1965), the spy novel by John Le Carré. The Berlin Wall divided East and West Berlin—as did the fortified border between East and West Germany—from August 13, 1961, until the borders were opened on November 9, 1989. East and West Germany were reunified on October 3, 1990.



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