By Luke Kenton
In the years that followed the Berlin Wall’s demise, it was thought that any trace of the once looming structure that sought to divide East and West Germany had been eradicated – but this amateur historian secretly knew otherwise.
Growing up in the then-eastern region of Pankow, Berlin, history enthusiast Christian Bormann was no stranger the towering partition that once physically – and ideologically – divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989.
But it wasn’t until ten years after the ‘Berliner Mauer’s’ apparent demolition that the now-37-year-old stumbled across a familiar sight in rural northern Berlin, on the district boundary between Panko and Reinickendorf.
After three years of covert research to verify the seemingly forgotten structure’s true identity, Christian identified the part of the 300ft segment to contain part of the original, hastily erected barricade of brick and barbed wire, before more rigorous defenses were put into place in the 1980s.
Noticing the wall’s fast deteriorating state, Christian broke his near 20-year vowel of silence on his blog pankowerchronik.de on January 22, revealing the historically significant structure’s existence in a bid to preserve it for generations to come.
A relieved Christian, who’s discovery has seen him nicknamed the ‘German Indiana Jone’, said: “I’ve been doing research in Pankow for 20 years now, digging through north Berlin bit by bit.
“After finding the wall, back in 1999, I’ve kept the property controlled and a complete secret.
“For me, the last remaining part of the wall was a very special thing, but at that time my enthusiasm for its existence would not be shared.
“But thankfully, only 18 years had to pass before it became historically important to the public.
“On my most recent visit on January 22, I noticed the condition of the wall had deteriorated rapidly, so to save it I wrote a story on it the next day.
“I also informed the council and asked for immediate protection measures.
“Had I known that my little story would trigger such emotions and go all around the world, maybe I wouldn’t have kept it a secret for so long.
“Within 15 days, the wall was rescued and has been placed under monument protection – the wall is to be taken into the care of European Cultural Heritage.
“I’m so pleased that all of my effort has been worthwhile.”