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A Wall of Chocolate in Berlin

Date Posted: 1999-10-19

On Wednesday, October 6, residents of Germanyís capital Berlin celebrated the anniversary of former communist East Germany in a most original way. They erected a satirical replica of the infamous Berlin Wall, which in the past was the defunct state's best-known achievement.

Italian confectioners wearing white bakers' hats stacked up 20-kilogram (45-pound) chocolate bricks into a 14-meter- (39-foot-) long wall on a central square near where the Berlin Wall once divided East and West.

"The only kind of wall that could bring people together rather than divide them would be a wall of chocolate," said organizer Eugenio Guarducci.

The Choco-Wall was one of few public events organized to mark the founding of East Germany under direct Soviet tutelage. On October 7, 1949. East Berlinís leadership originally constructed the steel-and-concrete Berlin Wall in 1961 to stop massive immigration to the West.

A decade ago East Germany marked the 40th anniversary of its founding with a monster birthday party hosting international guests such as Soviet leader Mikhael Gorbachev. But barely one month later, the Wall was opened as the leadership lost its grip over the population, dictator Erich Honecker was eased out by younger Communists on October 18, and the German Democratic Republic (DDR) collapsed soon after.

During commemorations 10 years ago on the 6th, more than a hundred thousand young people marched while chanting ìGorby, Gorby,î as it represented a hope that Gorbachev would help change the DDR with more democracy and economic effectiveness. Some eastern Germans have reacted to this yearís anniversary celebrations with warm recollections of pre-reunification life, attending nostalgia parties or DDR theme stores and pubs.

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