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Australia Lost piece of Berlin Wall found in western Sydney warehouse

18:27  08 november  2019
18:27  08 november  2019 Source:   smh.com.au

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A piece of the infamous wall , with graffiti on one side reading 'Jeder hat kraft' or 'Everyone is powerful', sat virtually unknown in Blacktown for more than a Raymond Chim with the section of the Berlin Wall that sat unknown in a Blacktown warehouse . The side that faced west Germany has graffiti reading

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a man standing in front of a graffiti covered wall: Raymond Chim with the section of the Berlin Wall that sat unknown in a Blacktown warehouse. The side that faced west Germany has graffiti reading 'Everyone is powerful'.© Steven Siewert Raymond Chim with the section of the Berlin Wall that sat unknown in a Blacktown warehouse. The side that faced west Germany has graffiti reading 'Everyone is powerful'.

The Berlin wall went up, it came down 30 years ago on November 9, 1989, and some pieces of it made their way to Australia.

One section went to Canberra, where it is still on display outside the Harmonie German Club.

Former transport company executive Ron Koehler remembers delivering a second piece to a private home in Sydney, where the owner modified his house and temporarily removed the roof to fit the enormous slab of concrete in his living room.

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And a third, which Koehler recalls transporting to an event in Darling Harbour in the early 1990s (photos back up his recollection), has been missing for almost 30 years.

But now, through an extraordinary chain of events, it has been found at a warehouse in Blacktown.

Raymond Chim, a production manager at the packaging company Chanrol, got so used to seeing the large piece of concrete in the warehouse he became "blase" about its presence.

a man standing in front of a brick wall: The side of the wall that faced East Germany was kept graffiti free by a brutal no-man's land patrolled by soldiers.© Steven Siewert The side of the wall that faced East Germany was kept graffiti free by a brutal no-man's land patrolled by soldiers.

"The piece of wall was not brought in by us," he says. Instead, Chanrol rented the space to a businessman who brought the wall in years ago. When the man moved out, he left the installation behind.

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Many segments of the Berlin Wall have been given to various institutions since its fall on November 9, 1989. Segments are occasionally moved, so locations shown may not be current in all cases.

"It wasn't causing major disruption, so we just let it stay," Mr Chim says.

But one of Chim's bosses recognised it as a section of the wall.

"The bloke just turns around, and says, 'I've been meaning to ask this: what are you doing with a piece of the Berlin Wall in your warehouse?'"

When Chim told his friends they were amazed that part of one of the most iconic structures of the 20th century was sitting half-abandoned in western Sydney.

"My friend David posted it on [the popular social site] Reddit," Chim says. The post, which is still online, reads: "Need Home for Berlin Wall".

It received 27 responses and none were hugely helpful, until Kai Schaefer, a staffer in the German Embassy in Canberra saw it.

"So I was following the Reddit Canberra thread and someone posted on the wall piece that is here in Canberra in front of the German club," he says. From there, he found the thread on the Sydney piece.

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The Embassy told Sonja Griegoschewski, a Berliner who now is now director of the German language and culture Goethe Institut in Australia.

She was thrilled about the prospect of restoring the wall to public display, but a four-metre high section of concrete is not easy to move across Sydney.

Henning Harders, a transport firm whose owners are from Germany, agreed to waive thousands of dollars in fees to take it to Euroka Reserve, a tiny park in Woollahra next to the institut, where the council will have it installed on November 23.

The transport fees, the firm's Christian Harder says, are a small price to pay to erect a monument that warns of the perils of isolationism and fear.

"I thought it would never ever be gone in Berlin," Griegoschewski says. "That was unthinkable. My parents, my grandparents, everyone said it would always be there, the Russians will never allow it to go. Now I'll be able to see it out of my window."

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