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UNM biomedical engineering sophomore Lynne Tucker, left, German senior Nate Webb, center, and political science junior Torin Hovander, right, destroy a cardboard replica of the Berlin Wall outside the Humanities Building on Monday afternoon. Sunday, Nov. 9 commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall being brought down.

UNM biomedical engineering sophomore Lynne Tucker, left, German senior Nate Webb, center, and political science junior Torin Hovander, right, destroy a cardboard replica of the Berlin Wall outside the Humanities Building on Monday afternoon. Sunday, Nov. 9 commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall being brought down.

German Club commemorates fall of Berlin Wall

These phrases and others were scrawled in German and English on a replica of the Berlin Wall erected by the UNM German Club on Monday in front of the Humanities building. The replica commemorated Sunday’s 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a Cold War relic that divided East and West Germany.

“We wanted to remind people about the wall and what it was all about,” said Dave Simone, a graduate student studying philosophy and one of the event’s organizers. “People are still oppressed in the world today by symbolic representations. The wall was a physical representation.”

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., students were able to interact with the wall, using paint to write and draw on it as they pleased. They were treated to hot chocolate and cider, courtesy of the German Club, as well as pamphlets with information about the Berlin Wall.

German Club members educated visiting students about the wall and various individuals who tried to climb it. One such person was Peter Fechter, who was shot and bled out in the no-man’s land in the center of the wall, after both the East and West sides refused to help, Simone said.

Just two hours into Monday’s event the wall was covered with peace signs, hearts and anti-war sentiments reminiscent of the graffiti that covered the real Berlin Wall for 28 years.

German Club President Nate Webb, a junior German major, said the wall’s fall was a global victory, but the biggest victory belonged to Germany.

“For America, it meant the end of the Cold War,” Webb said. “For Germans, it was like removing an infected splinter that had been there since World War II.”

Lynne Tucker, a sophomore bioengineering major, said she built the 5-foot-wide, 6-foot-tall Berlin Wall replica from cardboard, paper mache and grip tape over the weekend.

The real Berlin Wall, erected in 1961, split Germany in two and prevented trade and freedom of movement. For years many considered it a symbol of the tyranny of communism. It ultimately came down in 1989.

But Simone said a portion of the wall still stands in Germany.

“It’s an attraction to tourists, but a stigma to the locals,” Simone said.

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The replica wall survived several attempts to be brought down by wind throughout the day, and around 4 p.m. German Club members wrecked it with fervor, mimicking the events of 1989.

Professor Katja Schröter, who was at the event, said it is important for people to be reminded that they are capable of making an impact.

“I think our event today showed that people can still change politics, especially in this country,” Schröter said.

David Lynch is a freelance reporter for The Daily Lobo. He can be reached at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter  @RealDavidLynch.

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