Published: Nov. 13, 2014

German Studies program commemorates fall of Berlin Wall

By: Katie Stiefel Media Communications katie.stiefel@cabs.msu.eduContact(s): Jennifer Orlando Media Communications office: (517) 353-4355 cell: (517) 980-0076, Kristen Parker Media Communications office: (517) 353-8942 cell: (517) 980-0709

The German Studies program commemorated the 25th anniversary of the November 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall by constructing a segment of the Berlin Wall to display in Wells Hall throughout October and the beginning of November.

The fall of the Berlin Wall, torn down after 28 years of dividing democracy and communism during the Cold War, meant freedom and reunification of families.

“I was in Germany when the wall came down,” director of the Center for Language Teaching Advancement Angelika Kraemer said. “I distinctly remember that day and the excitement surrounding that time in history, so I think sharing this with our students, teaching them about this event and talking about globalization is really important.”

In addition to the replica segment of the wall, the German Studies program’s commemoration included a student competition asking students to create works of art or write poems or essays telling what walls mean to them.

International relations junior Reed Hondzinski won the competition for the 300 to 400 level German class students. Hondzinski wrote about the differences he experienced while in West and East Germany.

“Even though I wasn’t alive when the Berlin Wall fell, it had a huge impact on my life,” Hondzinski said. “I was an exchange student in what would have been East Berlin, so, had the wall not fallen 25 years ago, I would not have had that opportunity.”

German professor Tom Lovik said it is important for people to understand that the fall of the Wall was a peaceful revolution.

“This was an event that the entire world followed on TV, live, and it was families coming together,” Lovik said. “It was really a wonderful experience because we don’t see that every day.”