Advertisement
News by VICE

How a nearly 300-foot section of the Berlin Wall was kept secret for almost 2 decades

“I kept it a secret because the place needed to gain historical importance."

by Steven Bartus
Feb 5 2018, 4:00pm

In the years following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, most of the communist barrier was destroyed — or at least that's what everyone thought.

But an amateur historian kept a nearly 300-foot section he discovered a secret for almost two decades because he was worried it wouldn't be preserved.

The historian, Christian Bormann, discovered the remains of the infamous wall in northeast Berlin back in 1999. He didn't tell the public, however, until a Jan. 22 post on his local-history blog, Pankower Chronik.

“I kept it a secret because the place needed to gain historical importance," Bormann told VICE News. "It would have been torn down because it was a hazard. Now, it’s historically unique.”

Bormann claims that the section is part of the original wall, hastily constructed from brick and barbed wire in the early 1960s. East German authorities later replaced it with a more impenetrable, concrete version.

Bormann is now working to get his discovery officially recognized as a piece of the original wall by Berlin’s local government.

"For society and young people, it's important that there are not just books but they need to see, touch, smell, and feel so they understand history,” he said.

This segment originally aired Jan. 31, 2018, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.