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Berlin Wall cake to highlight ceremony

Students in the German Club and faculty members in the German and Russian Studies Department are doing their part to ensure that the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall will be remembered.

A day-long celebration will be held Monday, Nov. 9, in the Grand Corridor of the Fine Arts Building. The event, open to the public, will feature music, poetry, a video about the history of the Berlin Wall and a cake replica of the wall.

“The point is not just to remind people about (the wall’s fall), but also to get them in touch with how people were feeling during that time,” said Chantal Berendsen, a freshman and a vice president of the German Club. “The poetry and music is conducive to that and the video will help people understand the hardships others went through at the time.”

“We know this is something that changed lives,” said Wenyan Gu, a fellow freshman and German Club vice president. “If it didn’t fall, lives could have taken different paths.”

Built in 1961, the Berlin Wall separated East and West Germany and became the symbol of the Iron Curtain and Cold War. Thousands tried to escape the wall; hundreds were killed. Germans were finally allowed to cross on Nov. 9, 1989. The wall was officially dismantled the next year, and the Cold War would end in 1991.

The students and faculty members decided a cake replica was an easy symbol of the wall during a meeting early in the school year, Berendsen and Gu said.

Sodexo Campus Services will make and donate the cake. The cake, which will be baked by Tom Cady of Sodexo, will be almost 6 feet long, 18-22 inches high and 3-4 inches thick.

“Sodexo Campus Services greatly values the expertise, artistic ability and imagination of its staff members in their ability to provide exceptional and unique creations, such as the replica cake of the Berlin Wall, for the Binghamton University German Department to commemorate such an historic occasion,” said Katrina Miner, Sodexo marketing manager.

The cake will be cut at 1:30 p.m., Nov. 9. People should be able to stand on both sides of the cake, said Ingeborg Majer-O’Sickey, associate professor of German.

“That’s significant when you think about how Berlin felt like an island from 1961-1989,” she said. “That’s a long time to feel isolated and cut off from the rest of the world. … It was a huge, huge moment in so many millions of people’s lives.”

The celebration also will feature films throughout November, including The Lives of Others (Nov. 5), Himmel uber Berlin (Nov. 9) and Good Bye Lenin
(Nov. 19). The films will be shown at 7 p.m. in SL-306 in conjunction with the GER310 course.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08