11/12/2019 Peter Durantine

German Department Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Berlin Wall’s End; Award for Excellence

On Nov. 9, 1989, the winds of history toppled the Cold War’s Berlin Wall that divided Germany’s once and future capital between democracy and totalitarianism. Thirty years later, autumn gusts across Franklin & Marshall’s Hartman Green blew down a cardboard replica. 

The Wall was assembled early Nov. 8, the day before the anniversary, by students and faculty in the German program. Professor of German Jennifer Redmann intended Die Mauer to stand until late that afternoon when students would tear it down. But thanks to the high winds, the Wall was gone in a few hours. 

“But we did get to do some graffitiing,” Redmann said.

  • Students in Professor Tripp's German 101 class and in Gernan Club raise the replica of the Wall  early on the morning Nov. 8, 2019. Students in Professor Tripp's German 101 class and in Gernan Club raise the replica of the Wall early on the morning Nov. 8, 2019. Image Credit: Raluca Rilla
  • Nov. 9, 2019 was the 30th anniversary of the Berlin Wall that stood for 28 years before politics and history topped it. Nov. 9, 2019 was the 30th anniversary of the Berlin Wall that stood for 28 years before politics and history topped it. Image Credit: Raluca Rilla
  • Throughout the morning, as light winds kicked up, students painted graffiti in German on the wall. Throughout the morning, as light winds kicked up, students painted graffiti in German on the wall. Image Credit: Raluca Rilla
  • Professor Redmann and a student steady the Wall against the wind. Professor Redmann and a student steady the Wall against the wind. Image Credit: Raluca Rilla
  • Finally, after a productive morning of graffiti painting, the winds bring the Wall down. Finally, after a productive morning of graffiti painting, the winds bring the Wall down. Image Credit: Raluca Rilla

Assistant Professor Meagan Tripp’s German 101 class, along with members of the German Club, assembled the Wall, and throughout the morning, students painted graffiti in German using phrases reminiscent of those expressed by victims of the actual Wall that blocked freedom for Berliners for 28 years. 

“We’re calling it ‘No More Walls Week’ because we want to be clear about the perspective that walls hinder mutual understanding by dividing people,”Redmann said.

Germany was reunified less than a year after the dismantling of the Wall that divided Berlin and the country since the end of World War II in 1945. 

Later this month, the American Association of Teachers in German will honor F&M’s Department of German with its Center of Excellence Award for having a “well-established and growing German program with strong support from the administration, colleagues, alumni, parents and students.”

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