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Berlin Wall is Focus of Sulzer Library Event

By Patty Wetli | November 7, 2014 12:54pm | Updated on November 10, 2014 8:31am
 A piece of the Berlin Wall can be found in Lincoln Square.
Berlin Wall
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LINCOLN SQUARE — It's been said that the Berlin Wall, torn down 25 years ago, is the only monument that exists on all continents.

Some 120 parts of it can be found in more than 40 countries and in cities around the world, including Chicago, where one big piece is on display at the Western Ave. Brown Line station.

Sulzer Library this month will mark the quarter century of the fall of the wall, which was erected in 1961 and fortified over the decades to an eventual height of 12 feet and nearly 90 miles in length.

On Nov. 18, former news anchor Tom Brokaw will recount his memories of the historic event during a live webcast, available for viewing at 5 p.m. at the library at 4455 N. Lincoln Ave.

 Sulzer Library will host a live webcast, featuring Tom Brokaw, about the fall of the Berlin Wall on its 25th anniversary.
Sulzer Library will host a live webcast, featuring Tom Brokaw, about the fall of the Berlin Wall on its 25th anniversary.
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Flickr/Jim Linwood

Brokaw, now the elder statesman of NBC News, reported live from the Brandenburg Gate in 1989 as the border between East and West Berlin opened, a literal lifting of the Iron Curtain that divided Europe post-WWII.

Brokaw will appear in conversation with Harvard visiting professor Mary Elise Sarotte, recalling not only his personal observations of the fall of the wall, but also discussing the ongoing political and cultural repercussions of the wall's demise.

A gift from the city of Berlin, the Lincoln Square chunk was installed on Jan. 19, 2008 in a ceremony that included then-CTA president Ron Huberman, German Consul general Wolfgang Drautz and Eugene Schulter, the alderman at the time.

The segment was presented "as an expression of gratitude for the invaluable assistance rendered by the United States of America in securing the safety and the freedom of Berlin, in bringing down the wall, and in supporting the reunification of Germany and Berlin," according to a plaque.

The plaque contains the names of the mayors of Chicago and Berlin at the time, Richard M. Daley and Klaus Wowereit respectively.

According to a history of the chunk posted on the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce site, "Lincoln Square was the natural choice for a location, considering its German roots."

One side of the chunk, the side that faced the free, west side of Berlin, shows the spray painted remains of a message. The east side, that faced the Soviet-controlled part of Berlin, is blank.

One can also find a piece of the Berlin Wall as part of the collection of artifacts inbedded into the Tribune Tower.

In Berlin, artists have retraced the wall using 8,000 balloons that were released on Sunday evening.

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