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25 Years: Fall of the Wall

Written by Markus Schmidt on . Posted in Footprints

Silvester 1989 am Brandenburger Tor

In the early evening of November 9th, 1989 around 7:00 p. m. the central comitee secretary Günter Schabowksi mentioned incidentally at the end of a press conference that there is a policy decision about a new regulation of traveling for DDR-citizen.

At the 6th of November, after a long time where the DDR-citizen pushed the ruling party to make a new law for traveling the SED only wanted to publish in the first place a part of the law where you are allowed to leave the country but do not have any right to come back. This happened to stop the migration over the CSSR. To put pressure on the SED people went on the streets and demonstrated in the whole republic. After the demonstration the government changed the law at November 9th, 1989 which contained a visa for private traveling with the right to return without special precondition. During the press confernece Schabowski commented to the surprised journalists that privat journeys’ approval will be handled faster and it is valid “inmediately, promptly”.

After the spreading of the big headline “DDR opens its borders” people went to the checkpoints inmediately and wanted to go to West-Berlin while the police was not well-informed they could not refuse the entry to the West and so due to the pressure of the people they let pass the first one’s at checkpoint Bornholmer Street to West-Berlin at 9:20 p. m. Around 20,000 DDR-citizen followed the first in the next couple of hours. Step by step other checkpoints in Berlin also got open for going West. As a result of the peaceful revolution in the DDR and the political change of Europe’s East states the Berlin Wall fall this night.

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So far the history to the 9th of November in 1989. 25 years has passed and the city of Berlin celebrates the event during the whole year with exhibitions and other events. But from November 7th til its anniversary Berlin will offer the people a big program starting with the “light border”. 8,000 helium balloons will trace the former course of the Berlin Wall. The temporary installation runs from Bornholmer Strasse to the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate, past Potsdamer Platz, Checkpoint Charlie and the East Side Gallery to the Oberbaum Bridge. Various stations along the route will provide visitors with information, tours, and vantage points for viewing the Lichtgrenze. Large screens at all public commemorative spaces will show Marc Bauder’s film collage “Wall pieces” of historical, little-known film material ranging from the time of Wall construction to the Fall of the Wall.

Also the Robert Havemann Society has developed the exhibition  ‘One Hundred Berlin Wall Stories – One Hundred Times Berlin’ to run along the course of the Lichtgrenze; there will be a station every 150 metres where visitors can read a historical episode at the authentic site where the events took place. It is a combination of recollections and facts from the time of sector boundaries, the building of the Wall, protest activities, escapes, Wall fatalities, and border facilities, as well as from  to everyday life in the divided city and from the Peaceful Revolution in 1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

In the end of the anniversary will be a communal action when the balloon patrons release all of the balloons with their messages into the Berlin night sky on November 9th. The balloon patrons’ memories and wishes will be collected on www.fallofthewall25.com. People from all over the world can raise their voice on this website and become virtual balloon patrons.

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