This object is a 12' high and 4' wide section of poured concrete wall, covered on one side with spray painted graffiti. It was originally part of the Berlin Wall located near Potsdammer Platz in central Berlin.
Following WWII, defeated Germany was divided into zones of control by the victorious Allies. Altough Berlin was deep inside the Soviet controlled eastern zone, half the city was controlled by the Western Democratic forces. For several years, East Germans used West Berlin as an access point to depart the Communist East, and travel to other countries, including the United States. In order to stop people fleeing, in 1961, the East German military government built a wall enclosing West Berlin. For 28 years (1961-1989) the Berlin Wall bisected the city, and being caught crossing it meant death.
After the wall came down in 1989, a New Jersey firm called the Berlin Wall Commemorative Group obtained licensing rights from the German government for brokering sections of the Wall to American buyers. Fred Meijer purchased this section of the wall from that organization and donated it to the Grand Rapids Public Museum in 1991. It went on display in 1994 when the new Van Andel Museum Center was opened.
1961 – 1989
Concrete, Spray Paint
144" h 48" w 8" d
Current Location Status:
Purchased With Funds From Frederik And Lena Meijer
Virtual History Scavenger Hunt (June 2020) Use this scavenger hunt to explore artifacts and specimens in the GRPM’s Digital Collections. This scavenger hunt will help you explore key parts of history at several levels - our city, our state, our country, and our world!