Berlin Wall rebuilt with dominos on 20th anniversary

Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:56am EDT
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By Erik Kirschbaum

BERLIN (Reuters) - The Berlin Wall will be back to briefly divide the German capital again next month -- but with giant brightly colored dominos rather than cement slabs.

As the highlight of a 5-million euro celebration marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, a 1.5-km (one-mile) long segment of the Wall will stand for two days along its original route in front of the Brandenburg Gate.

The row of 1,000 20-kg dominos standing 1.5 meters apart -- painted in bright colors by school children and rising 2.5 meters high -- will be toppled at the end of a gala ceremony as a symbolic tribute to the collapse of the Wall 20 years earlier.

"It's only a temporary attraction," said Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit, outlining plans for a two-day festival commemorating the fall of what the communist East had portrayed as an "Anti- Fascist Protection Barrier" to ward off Western aggression.

"I don't think anyone will come up with the idea that we're building a Wall between East and West Berlin again. But there were many who ridiculed this idea at first. Now it's being seen as a wonderful way to symbolize the falling of the Wall."

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will attend the festivities, he said.

The Berlin Wall burst open on November 9, 1989 after months of rising tension in East Germany. Many rushed immediately to border crossings after a Communist East German government leader told a news conference they were free to travel to the West.

The Berlin Wall, a symbol of the Cold War that had split the city and Germany, was peacefully swept away in the months that followed. The two Germanys reunited 11 months later in 1990.   Continued...

<p>A worker moves a domino pieces that symbolises a segment of the Berlin Wall in a warehouse in Berlin October 21, 2009. REUTERS/Thomas Peter</p>