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History Unveils Paint-Your-Own Keepsake

Friday, August 29, 2014

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In what may be a perfect convergence of artistic, economic and historical opportunity, a German cement maker is peddling paint-your-own pieces of the Berlin Wall.

And these are not paperweight-size stones. Each slab is about four by 12 feet and weighs in at about three tons.

Berlin Wall slabs

The concrete pieces are remnants of the Berlin Wall, which thwarted about 5,000 escapes from Soviet-occupied East Berlin from 1961 to 1989.

Takers must also paint the slabs on site (described as "an overgrown industrial wasteland" south of Berlin) within six months and then either sell them or ship them away.

The cost: €500 (about $660 USD).


The deal comes from Elmer Prost, who had the slabs shipped to his warehouse 25 years ago when the 28-year-old border between West Berlin and Soviet-occupied East Berlin came down, reports

Berlin Wall
Creative Commons / George Garrigues

The Berlin Wall wraps around the rear of the East Berlin Neue Zeit newspaper building in 1984. The top of the wall was lined with a smooth pipe, intended to make it more difficult to scale.

When Prost's warehouse closed recently, he decided to get rid of the pieces, adds

About 45,000 such slabs of reinforced concrete made up the final version of the wall, known as the "fourth-generation wall."

Who's Buying

More information about the project is on Prost's website, but there is no English translation.

Reportedly, street artist Thierry Noir has purchased five of the slabs. Noir has long ties to the wall, claiming that he was the "first artist to illegally paint mile upon mile" of the border in 1984 as an act of political defiance.

Museums and schools around the world have also expressed interest in acquiring some of the slabs, reports say.

Berlin Wall slabs

The slabs must be painted on site in the town of Teltow, south of Berlin, and then hauled away at the owner's expense. Each slab weighs about three tons.

The reports do not say how many slabs Prost has, but he has had some takers.

“Sometimes," he told, "families come and paint together and then put their piece in their garden."


Tagged categories: Concrete; Europe; Historic Preservation; Historic Structures; Maintenance + Renovation; Paint application; Walls

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