Peace Garden is Symbol of Freedom: Where is this in Downtown Syracuse?

collageThanks to a Berlin native Elsa Kohl, Stephen Hadley and a Community Foundation donor, a “Peace Garden” is just behind the Museum of Science and Technology (MoST) on Franklin Street in Downtown Syracuse. The Community Foundation is pleased to assist in memorializing this piece of history.

After escaping from politically unstable Berlin in 1953, Elsa Kohl and her husband, Harry, immigrated to Syracuse. They began working as skilled upholsterers at the Marsellus Casket Company. They later utilized their talents to establish their own upholstery and drapery design shop in Oran, NY.

In 1990, a unique artifact – a piece of the Berlin Wall – was shipped from Germany to INFICON in East Syracuse who later donated it to the MoST for display. The Berlin Wall was constructed in 1961 to permanently close off access to West Germany and divide Europe. It was demolished in 1989 when the Cold War came to an end.

When Kohl learned that a section of The Wall that was in Syracuse was not on display with interpretive signage, she decided that she wanted to be involved with introducing this piece of history to the Central New York community.

“The Wall represents the desire of all people seeking and fighting for freedom, no matter where dividing barriers exist,” said Kohl. “I felt that something needed to be done to make sure that The Wall was memorialized and had inviting surroundings to encourage visits from the community.”

Local landscape designer Stephen Hadley and his associates offered to help to further highlight the beauty of the artifact that symbolizes freedom and peace. With support from a Community Foundation donor and Kohl’s initiative, Hadley came up with an architecturally welcoming design that included a descriptive bronze plaque.

“We were so thankful and surprised when Stephen Hadley stepped in to assist us with our endeavor and create such a beautiful space to symbolize peace and freedom,” said Kohl. “To have this reminder of the struggle for freedom more visible is leaving me with hope of passing the message of peace to the next generation.”

The new Peace Garden is becoming a destination for community members and visitors to see a physical representation of what freedom looks like through the Berlin Wall.

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