BERLIN, Aug. 13 (UPI) — A former Berlin mayor suggests reconstructing the Berlin Wall as the city Saturday marked the 50th anniversary of the infamous wall being built.
Former mayor Eberhard Diepgen says he would like to see portions of the wall, which kept East Berliners from fleeing to the West after it was erected by the Communist East German government overnight on Aug. 13, 1961, rebuilt as accurately as possible, The Christian Science Monitor reported.
“It was wrong to take all those pieces of Berlin Wall, paint them and send them off into the world as souvenirs of a peaceful revolution,” said Diepgen in an article in a Berlin newspaper. He proposed that parts of the wall should be rebuilt “as accurately as possible, with barbed wire, watch towers and spring guns, so the brutality of the system is evident.”
Currently, the only place to find an intact section of the wall, which came down in 1989, is on Bernauer Strasse at the Berlin Wall Documentation Center, as much of the wall ran through the middle of streets and houses.
Many readers of Diepgen’s proposal find his idea “bizarre,” “ahistorical,” and “the wrong signal for the city.”
Meanwhile, the city remembered the day the wall went up with a multitude of events Saturday, including open-air cinema screening and guided tours along the wall, McClatchy-Tribune reported.
Biographies of the 136 people who died at the Berlin Wall were read out loud at the Chapel of Reconciliation. Flags were flown at half-staff across the country, along with a minute of silence and stopped traffic in remembrance.