They say you never know what there is to see in your own city, a phrase that couldn’t be more true for one group of German citizens. Back in June of this year, a number of Berlin residents decided to find out what was in their own backyard and do a walking tour of the city. While on the trail, they managed to stumble upon a previously undocumented section of the Berlin Wall.
The announcement was made by Deputy District Mayor and District Councillor Ephraim Gothe of the Social Democratic Party. Thanks to a lucky twist of fate that will no doubt be worked into his political career in some way, Gothe made the announcement not just because of his role in government, but also because he happened to be part of the tour that discovered it.
Speaking to the German news organization Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Gothe said he was surprised to learn that there are still undiscovered parts of the wall in Berlin. However, according to Gesine Beutin, head of public relations at The Berlin Wall Foundation, the discovery of additional parts of the wall is not as rare as you might think.
“There can always be new, smaller sections hidden somewhere around the city”, she said when asked about the find by DW.
The reason for this is that, while the majority of the main 96-mile wall had been documented in the early 2000s, not all additional fortifications have been. While we tend to think of the Berlin Wall as one long structure, many areas had smaller walls, fences, and gates built near the main wall for additional security. The newly discovered segment is an example of such barricades.
The section in question measures an impressive 65.6 feet long and is about 11.8 feet high. Despite its size, it remained undiscovered partly because it was covered in dense overgrowth, partly because it is situated on an unused site in the city, and, as the graffiti on it suggests, partly because anyone who saw it just assumed it was a normal wall.
The Berlin Wall Foundation, which is responsible for documenting and providing information regarding the wall, confirmed that the newly discovered structure is authentic, and it was quickly given protected status by the government.