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Marriage on the Fringes — For Now

This summer a Swedish woman celebrated the 29th anniversary of her marriage to the Berlin Wall. Yes, you read that correctly. Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer, 54, whose surname means “Berlin Wall” in German, “wed” the concrete structure on June 17, 1979. The Swede claims she fell in love with her future “husband” when she first saw it on TV as a child. She began collecting “his” pictures and saving up for visits to Berlin. When she first visited the great Cold War monument, she says she immediately felt an intimate and lifelong bond. It was love at first sight.

On her sixth trip, in 1979, dressed in a flowing white gown, she tied the knot with Mr. Berliner-Mauer before a handful of guests. Yes, other people, including family members, actually showed up to witness the ceremony.

While one wonders about the legal questions of how the Cold War icon could ever get hitched, it is a fact that Mrs. Berliner-Mauer is recognized in her town of Liden in northern Sweden for carrying on a long-distance relationship with an inanimate structure. Further, she legally changed her name to reflect her relationship with her inanimate husband.

Berliner-Mauer maintains an apologia pro vita sua-style website that explains how she can be attracted to a set of horizontal lines, and why she believes she can marry one of them. “For me to be attracted by a construction,” explains Mrs. Berlin-Wall, “it must be a construction with parallel lines, usually horizontal.” She’s not just an animist, believing that inanimate objects have souls, but claims she can and does communicate with them — including with her husband, who, since he has been torn down (she was “horrified”), exists for Mrs. Berliner-Mauer in the form of a scale model she can hold in her hands. Interesting, though hardly edifying.

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