The East Side Gallery is threatened again with falling victim to speculators. The longest open-air gallery and one of the most visited places in Germany also stands for a culture of remembrance that reminds us of the “after”, of the euphoric days of freedom that were achieved, not of the “before”, of mined no-man’s land. This strip between Spree and East Side Gallery used to be a non-place, not accessible, not visible, non-existent.
The East Side Gallery, a 1.3 km section of the Berlin Wall painted by international artists in 1990 is under threat of destruction and the international public is needed to save it.
Property developer Heskel Nathaniel of Trockland Management plans to build a monstrous hotel and apartment complex on the banks of the river Spree behind the East Side Gallery on what is known as the former death strip. Such construction is illegal under Berlin’s Historic Monument Law. The East Side Gallery was declared a listed (and thus protected) monument in 1991. Sadly this law didn’t stop the Berlin Senate issuing a building permit to a former member of the Stasi who built a block of flats, “Living Levels” on part of the death strip.
It is essential that the East Side Gallery survives as a monument and that the skyline is maintained as free and open. The planned hotel complex would tower over the Gallery like a malevolent shadow and would effectively be the death of the East Side Gallery. The area behind the Gallery should be maintained as a recreational area for all. It should definitely not become a rich man’s playground.
Therefore the alliance ‘Save the East Side Gallery!’ has started an international petition as a first step to build up pressure on the Berlin authorities to revoke the building permit.