This weekend marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a critical turning point in the Cold War and a cultural moment followed around the globe. A piece of that history now sits in downtown Miami at the Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus.
There will be a series of events taking place at Miami Dade College on Thursday, Nov. 7, honoring the 30th Anniversary, including a new Berlin Wall app developed by students at MDC that allows viewers to take a virtual reality tour of the wall.
Andreas Siegel, German Consul General in Miami, spoke with Luis Hernandez on Sundial about the significance of the fall of the Berlin Wall and how Miami was able to capture a piece of its history.
WLRN: In the 1990s, you worked in the German Consulate in Boston. What were the steps that were taken to get a piece of the Berlin Wall to Boston? What did you to do to get that to happen?
SIEGEL: People were extremely interested because of the famous John F. Kennedy speech in 1963 when he came to speak to about 40,0000 people in front of the city hall in Schoenberg with the famous phrase "I am a Berliner," which was a very important emotional support for the Berliners at that time. And we had a request from the Kennedy Library in Boston to get a chunk of the all the wall and then we did the liaison with German and Berlin administration to make that possible.
It was five years ago that a segment of the wall made its way to Miami. Why was Miami selected?
It's due to the personal initiatives of people who are interested. In that case, I think Miami Dade College and our then consul general were the key persons that actually arranged for that. Many other pieces were distributed to other parts of the United States. And why not Miami, with a strong German population here?
People have probably seen it, but many don't realize an actual piece of the wall is at the Miami Dade College. How would you describe it?
Actually, it's like it used to be in the in the late 1980s, when the wall was painted also from the western side, at least with graffiti. That actually became popular after the unification [of the two Germanies] and there's still an exhibit of, let's say, half a mile of pieces of the wall, which is called the East Side Gallery, which still gives you a lot of examples of what kind of graffiti and what kind of motives and very artistic sometimes are portrayed there. The idea was simply to have one original authentic piece put here with a little bit of documentation around it to understand the background, how it came up, how it came down.