Rainer Eppelmann: „A contribution to the commemorative culture“
The Berlin Wall Race incomparably combines the athletic top performance of an ultra marathon with the commemoration of the separation of Germany and of Berlin. Maybe the athletes from all over the world have one or two minutes along their 161 kilometer long run to reflect the inhuman Berlin Wall. In any case, the organizers of the event take a stand by setting the event to the date of the anniversary of the wall construction on 13 August 1961 and along the former separation barrier. Next to the accomplishments of the organizers, that work relentlessly hard for the growing success of this international sport event, I would like to point out the commitment of the approximately 400 volunteers. Without their support at the 27 aid stations the whole Berlin Wall Race could not be realized. I would like to thank everyone involved, who contribute to the commemorative culture of this country and this city at the same time.
The race along the former Berlin Wall remembers a monstrous building, that had separated people in the East and the West for 28 years, and which has by now disappeared from the views of the city. They remind how the authorities of the GDR established border fortifications against their own people and obstructed them the last loop hole to the free world. Families, couples and friends have been separated for decades. Thousands of people, that did not comply with the life in the GDR, paid the escape attempts with prison or severe injuries, too many met only their death at the Wall.
To remember this constantly and to show the younger generations quite plaintly the brutality of the border regimes, behind which the whole communist dictatorship of the GDR had to hide, remains a constant task. The participants of the 100MeilenBerlin do not only push the envelope of their physical capabilities, they also contribute a valuable share to the commemoration of the decades of the separation and its numerous victims.
Chairman of the Board of Directors of The Federal Foundation for the Reappraisal of the SED Dictatorship and Patron of the Berlin Wall Race
Rainer Eppelmann is a former GDR civil rights activist. In the cabinet of Lothar de Maizière he was Minister for Disarmament and Defense, from 1990 to 2005 he was a member of the German Bundestag for the Christian Democratic Union. Rainer Eppelmann has been patron of the Berlin Wall Race since its premiere in 2011.