Today marks the 53rd anniversary of the vitally historic erection of the Berlin Wall. According to a survey, only 50 percent of Germans are aware of the date.
Constructed by the East Germans and dubbed the "Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart," the destruction of the Berlin Wall may be more in the public consciousness as the 25th anniversary of the wall's fall draws nigh this November. Nevertheless, the survey seems like troubling news. From Reuters:
When asked what happened on this date, some 50 percent of Germans said they did not know, according to the survey of 1,013 people carried out by the Federal Foundation for the Study of Communist Dictatorship in East Germany.
Only 32 percent of those aged between 14 and 29 knew the significance of the date, said the poll."
There was some fun to be had with the anniversary as well:
On this day in 1961 the Berlin Wall was erected and stayed up until Ronald Reagan shattered it with a hammer made from Mt. Rushmore granite.— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) August 13, 2014
While not knowing the exact date that the Berlin Wall was built seems like a failing, the symbolic import of the structure is also something that also gets lost in the discourse.
One example came just last month when Bill O'Reilly invoked the Berlin Wall as a paradigm of a solution for the problem of undocumented citizens pouring across the American border from Mexico and Central America.
Nobody could get through that fence. Nobody. It was a formidable obstacle...We haven't done that on the southern border. That's mistake number one."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.