The last generation of the Wall before it came down on November 9, 1989, stood about 12 feet tall, which is a bit too much for my living room. My replica of the Berlin Wall stands a little more than 8 feet tall and is 4 feet wide, complete with graffiti. In fact, check out my photos below, and you can see me posing with both the replica Wall and the real Wall. Both walls come complete with yellow angel artwork. The designer of the replica Wall, Irenka Carney, did a tremendous job painting the angel art, as well as adding other iconic phrases from the real Wall, such as “Freiheit” (“freedom” in German) and “Change Your Life.” She was assisted by Pat East, who also happens to be a great web designer.
Note that I include a replica of the rounded drain pipe that the East Germans placed on the top of the Wall to make it more difficult to scale. However, I decided I could do without the guard towers, German Shepherds, and booby traps that went with the real Wall. This replica will be a nice visual aid when I do presentations at schools and book signings.
The Berlin Wall went up in August of 1961, and it went through several generations of construction–each one stronger and more impenetrable. What’s more, there were actually two walls. The outer Wall on the Western side is what we would call the Berlin Wall. It often had graffiti on the Western side and plain gray on the Eastern side. Not too many graffiti artists were willing to risk the dogs and booby traps. There was also a second, inner wall on the Eastern side, and between them stretched the aptly named death strip.
The Wall separating East and West Berlin stretched a little over 26 miles as it weaved its way through the heart of the city. The Berliner Mauer site includes just about anything you’d like to know about the Wall, so check it out, as well as my Berlin novel, The Puzzle People.
By the way, my replica is made of Styrofoam–a little easier to carry that way.
By Doug Peterson