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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Lecture Reflects on Berlin Wall 20 Years Later

On Nov. 9, 1989, the world watched as the Berlin Wall, that impenetrable symbol of the Cold War, fell when East Germans flooded through an opened checkpoint. WCC art history instructor Elisabeth Thoburn, who lived behind the Iron Curtain for 25 years, will give a lecture at WCC on that historical event and its impact on Dresden, the town where she grew up.

“The Fall of the Berlin Wall: 20 Years of Reconstruction and Reconciliation” begins at 6:30pm on Monday, Nov. 9, at Towsley Auditorium in the Morris Lawrence building. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Thoburn will discuss how the Wall’s fall signaled the beginning of reconciliation and rebirth for Dresden through the reconstruction of its historic and religious icon, the Frauenkirche, a Lutheran Protestant church built in the 1700s.

Nearly destroyed in WWII, the Frauenkirche has been restored with funds from around the world. Thoburn will weave the strands of reconstruction and reconciliation together and provide a history of the region from an insider’s perspective, raising questions of guilt, responsibility, and hope.

Stifled by the politics of her youth, Thoburn was not allowed to study, was prevented from getting a promised job, and was arrested briefly for treason. She has an art history degree from the University of Michigan and a passion for architecture, which she melds together in her art history classes at WCC. On Oct. 4 she participated in a high school lecture series hosted by the University of Michigan about the impact of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Cold War.

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