Robert Thody, Education Officer | June 27, 2017
Ruins of Berlin buildings after World War II were piled high onto open ground, away from the city centre. The offensive mountain of rubble was a testament to the destruction of war; a wasteland of shattered architectural landmarks that were once sacred, industrial, political, and domestic.
During the Cold War, the scale of the ruinous mountain made it ideal for radio signals to be captured and released. Thus, it was capped by a listening station to escalate the war of words and hidden intentions that plagued those atomic years and solidified the division between East and West. Fears of annihilation prevailed beyond a city divided against itself and the subversive wars and rumours of wars echoed across air and sea, further dividing peoples and nations.
Today, the Field Station Berlin has become a vandalized canvas of graffiti, just like the Berlin Wall was before it sunk into the ground and became a mere cobbled pathway for pilgrims of history. Local Berlin pilgrims still consider the man-made Teufelsberg mountain an important monument, to be preserved as an historic reminder to the voices that cried above and below the rubble.
This year we celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, in a city where rain replenishes the earth and currently fills the river to overflowing. Rain, like the river, has been here since time immemorial, bringing life and reminding us of the forces of nature and their power. While it is a time of celebration, we can also acknowledges the history of our neighbours to the North, who once bore the name Berlin with honour. And to the South, our First Nation neighbours, who remind us that we are but 150 years young, and that there are memories that cry from the walls of buildings and the river; stories that need to be remembered and told.