For 28 years, the Berlin Wall was a deadly border separating friends and families. It was an international symbol of Communist oppression and of the Cold War. Following the bloodless revolution in 1989 the vast structure was demolished very quickly. But its remnants and traces have since acquired an entirely new and positive significance. The lecture investigates the Wall as a building, its physical remnants and the way these are presented today.
Leo Schmidt is an art historian. He earned his doctorate at Freiburg University in 1980 with a thesis on the architecture of Holkham Hall, an English 18th-century country house. He was a senior investigator in the State Department for the Care of Historic Buildings in Baden-Württemberg. Since 1996 he has been Professor of Architectural Conservation at the Brandenburg University of Technology at Cottbus. He has wide-ranging interests and has published extensively, focussing on 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century architecture, on difficult heritage such as the Berlin Wall and the Peenemünde rocket site, and on Conservation Management Planning. He is a member of the ICOMOS Scientific Committee for 20th–Century Heritage (ISC20C) and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.