An authenticated piece of the Berlin Wall that once separated West Berlin and East Germany has returned to Suwanee Town Center for good.
The 12-foot-tall, 7,000-pound section of the wall was donated to the city by Friends Suwanee Grill's Ray Stanjevich and Suzanne Cartwright, who purchased the piece in 2013 at an auction on the Town Center Stage.
"I was born in a communist country, and Suzanne’s mother immigrated from Germany after World War II,” said Stanjevich, a Serbian immigrant. “We think it’s important to remember the past and not forget that many still live without the basic freedoms that we enjoy in the United States.”
Stanjevich displayed the piece outside of his Suwanee restaurant and recently decided to donate it to the city as a public art piece. The Suwanee City Council voted in June to accept the relic, and it is now on display in Town Center Park.
"We're thrilled to be able to exhibit this section of the Berlin Wall," says Suwanee's Assistant City Manager Denise Brinson. "It's a cool way to bring an important piece of art and history to area residents. This display fits in well with Suwanee's goal of making art accessible."
The wall section spent several months on display in front of Suwanee City Hall and the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center in 2013 while awaiting auction after it was seized by federal officials to provide some restitution for victims of a Ponzi scheme.
Originally discovered in an East Berlin work camp, the once-western-facing now section features graffiti depicting an American flag, a silhouetted figure, and three buildings. The side that once faced East Berlin is mostly devoid of graffiti. The wall piece has a certificate of authenticity after tests on the concrete and rebar confirmed its materials consistent with those used in Germany in the early 1960s.