Most Central New Yorkers, including those who frequent downtown Syracuse, might not know there’s a 12-foot tall piece of history behind the Museum of Science and Technology…even if the intention was for it to be seen…
"We wanted it to be visible. That's why it was placed back here. And so it has remained there ever since.”
That was more than two decades ago. But only within the past couple weeks or so has a piece of the Berlin Wall become the centerpiece of a welcoming peace garden. About 25 years ago, BettyAnn Kram was working at what was known then as Inficon Leybold Heraeus in East Syracuse, known today as just Inficon. It wasn’t long after she and others founded the MoST, which was moving into the armory. it was also when the Berlin Wall was coming down in Germany.
" A colleague in the German company said to me, 'I can get pieces of this, do you want them?' And I said, 'absolutely.' So it was through that, it's an unusual connection. But at that time we were a German company, now it's a Swiss company.”
Kram jumped at the completely random opportunity to bring a few 3 foot wide, 12 foot tall sections of the wall to Syracuse and donate them to the MoST. She says the one outside is very symbolic.
"One side is very colorful, and has a phrase on it that we can interpret...we only see only a portion of it. Originally, it was quite vivid color. The reverse side, which was facing East Berlin is completely bare. I think it's a very clear visual reminder of the imposition on life and culture."
For 29 years, the wall divided Communist East and Democratic West Berlin before it started coming down. Kram says it was around the 25th anniversary of the beginning of the wall’s demolition last November when Syracuse’s piece got some attention. That led to the creation of the garden thanks to anonymous donors to the MoST.