Town Square

City's hidden tribute to fall of Communism

Original post made on Nov 11, 2009

This week, Mountain View residents join others around the world in marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. But few know that their city is home to two pieces of the Iron Curtain — on display for anyone to see in a Shoreline office park.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, November 11, 2009, 12:22 PM


Posted by vfree, a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 11, 2009 at 3:05 pm

That's very cool.

Posted by Old Ben, a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 11, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Maybe soon they can add a chunk of Israel's apartheid wall to that installation.

Posted by Honor Spitz, a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 11, 2009 at 4:42 pm

Great article, Daniel. Hopefully more people will now find out about this hidden treasure/history lesson in our own backyard.

Posted by Gary Rosen, a resident of North Whisman
on Nov 11, 2009 at 8:40 pm

There was no what is dishonestly called the "apartheid wall" in Israel until it was erected in response to a wave of suicide bombers whose victims included Arab as well as Jewish Israelis. It is the grossest sophistry to compare this protective barrier to the Communist wall designed to keep people from seeking freedom. If it is the lack of a Palestinian state that bothers you, history shows that it was the Arabs, not Israel, who prevented the establishtment of that state.

Posted by The Dad, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 12, 2009 at 10:44 am

I like the sentiment and the memorial to the reunification of Germany, but I bet there's a few billion Chinese who
would argue communism has not fallen as the headline suggests.

Posted by Catherine, a resident of Jackson Park
on Nov 12, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Wow, I had no idea (and I was even there when the wall fell!). Can hardly wait to go check it out! Thanks for the great journalism :-)

Posted by Gary Rosen, a resident of North Whisman
on Nov 12, 2009 at 8:57 pm

"The Dad"

- good point, along with Vietnamese, North Koreans and Cubans.

Posted by Mr. Big, a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 13, 2009 at 7:03 am

Maybe some day a piece of "Bush's" wall with Mexico will be added.

Posted by Missing Info, a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 13, 2009 at 7:06 am

They didn't mention in the article if it was accessible to the public.

What a major omission.

Guess I'll have to risk getting shot to see the Berlin wall after all...

Posted by close reader, a resident of another community
on Nov 13, 2009 at 10:45 am

Second sentence in article:

"But few know that their city is home to two pieces of the Iron Curtain — on display for anyone to see in a Shoreline office park."

The major omission is in your mind.

"The Dad" - you're wrong about China. It is Communist in name only, at this point. The streets are full of bartering, anything goes market-wise, and even at the state level nothing about that country is run like a "pure" Communist state, as the USSR (and China) used to be before .... well, before around the time the wall fell. Ditto Cuba. North Korea and Vietnam are really more unique governments - I don't know why they got lumped in there.

Posted by Christoph Probst, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 14, 2009 at 6:38 am

Where is this statue exactly? "In the corner of a parking lot behind an office building ..."

Why not include some more photos to indicate exactly where it is? Or even a link to Google Maps?

"close reader": It is no comfort to the dissidents in Chinese jails to tell them that their jailers are not "pure communists." China is a lot more similar to the USSR than you think. Russian leaders didn't believe in Marxism, either, in spite of their public pronouncements. It's not true that "anything goes" market-wise in China. It's only "anything goes" if you can bribe the right people. The government still has tight control over the economy. The currency is not freely convertible. It's easy to get locked up for expressing the wrong political ideas. China is still a tyrannical country and a scary place.

North Korea and Vietnam are similar because like China they are single-party states, nominally communist, with bad human rights records and little tolerance for political dissent.

Posted by Dave, a resident of North Whisman
on Nov 15, 2009 at 2:07 pm

I went out and found the monument this afternoon. Here's a link to its exact location:

Web Link

It's pretty amazing to have this here in Mountain View. Unfortunately, the associated plaque is notably lacking any sort of graciousness or modesty, and makes it sound like the U.S. shouted and the wall came tumbling down. Though our help was invaluable, in the end it was Germans who actually pulled the thing down. That's not an unimportant historical point, and it would have been nice to seen it acknowledged.

But better an imperfect display than none at all. I plan to pass its location on to my friends. My Dad, who lives in Palo Alto, will also get a kick out of it, I'm sure.

Posted by close reader, a resident of another community
on Nov 16, 2009 at 11:58 am

Christoph: Thanks for your post. In fact I totally agree with what you wrote. Without quibbling or splitting hairs, I'd just like to say that in light of all this, the headline still seems accurate to me.

Dave: great link & summary of the memorial.

Posted by Linda Dupre, a resident of another community
on Nov 17, 2009 at 7:11 pm

Wow, terrific story! I lived in MV 30 years, moved to Phoenix, AZ in 2000, never knew the tribute was there. I'm coming out in Dec. will check it out with my granddaughters.

Posted by Oldabelincoln, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 20, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Christoph Probst is completely correct.

Certainly there have never been any "pure" Communist states other than perhaps during their first few months of existence before the power plays and human nature take over.

If the fall of the Berlin Wall was not the fall of Communism, it was certainly part of the fall of the Iron Curtain as Churchill defined it.

Communist states of varying degrees of purity remain, and our jobs have been Romneyed over to them, at least to China and Vietnam. If we ever establish relations with Cuba and North Korea, more jobs will doubtless be Romneyed there as well.

Posted by Christopher Parkinson, a resident of Willowgate
on Oct 17, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Updates to this article. Google has purchased the property less the Berlin Wall Sections and signage. They only want the ground. The VAC is the committee who is given the leadership in finding an appropriate site for these historical pieces.

Here is a web for the SFGate article on this.

Web Link

Next Meeting Nov 7 or 14 at city hall in the Atrium room. We are still deliberating where we will place these historical pieces of art.

Christopher Parkinson
Chair of the VAC