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Topic # 154792 7-Nov-2014 17:19
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I've been trying for months to find a museum that may be interested in having two pieces of the Berlin Wall. My late husband was in Berlin twenty-five years ago when the wall came down. He helped to demolish two sections of it and took a chunk from each. They are just concrete lumps, decent size, with paint on one side and barbed wire embedded. 

He also got a t-shirt at the time, to commemorate the event. 

I never felt comfortable about having these in the house so they were put away in a box and left. With me leaving the country soon, I need to find a home for them. I thought donating them to a museum would be a good idea but despite several saying they might be interested, nobody has got back to me and now time is running out.  I don't have flight tickets or any hard proof that my late husband was in Berlin at that time. Just an old t-shirt and my word for it. He's not able to provide evidence (obviously - scary if he could!) and I don't know if museums have a way of authenticating these pieces. No doubt the paint and barbed wire could be matched to known pieces.

Anyhow, if a museum in NZ doesn't want them then I want them to go to someone that recognises the history and will look after them. Maybe one day a museum might want them. To me, they just represent suffering and death. I don't like them. But I know there are collectors of such memorabilia out there.

I feel really uncomfortable with the idea of listing them on TradeMe. What do others think? Reminders of a horrible time in world history that should never be sold or items with curiosity value that should be made available to collectors? I've got too much emotional tie to them to think clearly about what to do with them. So please share your thoughts.

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  Reply # 1171038 7-Nov-2014 17:49
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As you point out there are memorobilia collectors out there who are into this stuff. Don't let your personal feelings get in the way of you disposing of these the most appropriate way you see fit.

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  Reply # 1171042 7-Nov-2014 17:55
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When I was in Berlin in 2006 the area around Checkpoint Charlie had several souvenir shops selling tiny pieces of the wall (certified) for 20-40 Euros. Its a sad part of history but one that shouldn't be forgotten.

Perhaps contact the German consul or local German Society for ideas.

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  Reply # 1171047 7-Nov-2014 17:57
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Try not to feel too bad; pieces of the wall have even been included with a game!



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  Reply # 1171069 7-Nov-2014 18:39
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mailmarshall: When I was in Berlin in 2006 the area around Checkpoint Charlie had several souvenir shops selling tiny pieces of the wall (certified) for 20-40 Euros. Its a sad part of history but one that shouldn't be forgotten.

Perhaps contact the German consul or local German Society for ideas.


These two are approx 10cm and 12cm long. Fairly big chunks. Rick, my late husband, hacked them out of the wall himself. While I can imagine how exciting that day was, the actual wall pieces and barbed wire give me the shivers. I would much rather they went to a museum to provide a reminder for generations to come than go into the hands of a collector. Or, go to someone that might break them up into smaller pieces and on-sell them. 
I should have got rid of them years ago but I found it hard (still do) to get rid of things that belonged to Rick. 

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  Reply # 1171081 7-Nov-2014 19:08
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Very topical - article on Stuff this afternoon - 25th anniversary is being marked in a couple of days.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/europe/63013929/germany-launches-celebration-of-berlin-walls-fall.html


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  Reply # 1171082 7-Nov-2014 19:16
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Interesting post. It reminds me we have a small pice of the wall.   Purchased exactly as mentioned above - more a small souvenir than something from someone who was there at the time the wall came down.  In my opinion no matter what the size these are of no real value as they are too common albeit not in NZ.



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  Reply # 1171093 7-Nov-2014 19:38
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freitasm: Have you contacted Te Papa?

 

Yes. They never got back to me. 

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  Reply # 1171108 7-Nov-2014 19:47
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Elpie:
freitasm: Have you contacted Te Papa?

Yes. They never got back to me. 


Contacting government operated / funded organisations can be like that. You may have more luck with a local museum. I've got a bit of it myself from a souvenir shop in Germany. Ebay will give you a price indication .

gzt

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  Reply # 1171143 7-Nov-2014 21:00
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Elpie:
mailmarshall: When I was in Berlin in 2006 the area around Checkpoint Charlie had several souvenir shops selling tiny pieces of the wall (certified) for 20-40 Euros. Its a sad part of history but one that shouldn't be forgotten.

Perhaps contact the German consul or local German Society for ideas.


These two are approx 10cm and 12cm long. Fairly big chunks. Rick, my late husband, hacked them out of the wall himself. While I can imagine how exciting that day was, the actual wall pieces and barbed wire give me the shivers. I would much rather they went to a museum to provide a reminder for generations to come than go into the hands of a collector. Or, go to someone that might break them up into smaller pieces and on-sell them. 
I should have got rid of them years ago but I found it hard (still do) to get rid of things that belonged to Rick. 

You have an established providence there which is good for collectors. There is [u]a lot[/s] of it around btw, some of the more recent stuff probably is fake. What you have is a good size - maybe Motat could use it to mount in something of East German origin.

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  Reply # 1171190 7-Nov-2014 21:42
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It was just a wall. There was nothing especially horrible about it. To those of us who effectively lived next door to it, it was just a fact of life.

A friend of mine had a bit and his cleaner binned it thinking it was rubbish!





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  Reply # 1171191 7-Nov-2014 21:44
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Elpie:
freitasm: Have you contacted Te Papa?


Yes. They never got back to me. 

My wife used to work there. I could ask her for a contact if you like.







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  Reply # 1171214 7-Nov-2014 22:51
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Geektastic:
Elpie:
freitasm: Have you contacted Te Papa?


Yes. They never got back to me. 

My wife used to work there. I could ask her for a contact if you like.


Yes, please :-) 

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  Reply # 1171231 8-Nov-2014 02:28
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Wouldn't selling a piece of the Berlin wall be a fine way of sticking it to the former regime? ;)

One might say Capitalism in full force!

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  Reply # 1171241 8-Nov-2014 08:03
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We were there a few weeks later.  
The concrete is extremely dense and has a lot of asbestos in it. Larger pieces probably came from where machinery could be used to break it up.  The E Berliners taking to the wall were very happy.  I wanted to carve off a souvenir - no problem borrowing a 4lb hammer and cold chisel, but very difficult to chisel off anything larger than small pieces the size of a thumbnail.  But they'd already managed to carve a hole large enough to climb through using hand tools, so you could take a walk between the wall and the fences on the E side, talk to the E German guards, still armed but not really patrolling (not keen on photos though).
On the Ku'damm, right outside shops selling Lamborghini and Ferraris, people from E Berlin were exchanging almost completely worthless ostmark for DM, then buying fruit and chocolate to take home.  

The 25 year anniversary is of the wall coming down - not going up, so I wouldn't be worried that mementos are reminders of the bad - more of the good (especially that the end of the wall was a peaceful event).  I doubt the pieces of the wall I've got have any value, they're in a container along with other assorted mementos which include some WWI memorabilia which probably does have value to collectors, but the real value is that I know that these were collected by my grandfather, even if I have no hard proof of that.

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