Monday, November 9, 2009
Today commemorates the fall of the wall in Germany, twenty years ago on November 9Th, 1989. Build in 1961 to separate the eastern part of Berlin and at the same time East German regions from the other sectors. After the Second World War Germany had been divided by the forces of Britain, France, USA and Russia.
The two German states were established in 1949. The Russians (and their East German communist counterparts), the only communist power among the winners of WW II occupied the eastern part of Germany and tried to "protect" their assets by building the wall around East Germany including Berlin. In the years after the war uncounted Germans from the German Democratic Republic (DDR) had escaped over the so called green - minimal fortified border from the Russian controlled East into the West. The western allied forces had given their part of Germany plenty of help to recover from the horrible effects of the war. Therefore living standards quickly became much different from their poor eastern cousins.
Loosing literally hundreds of people daily was eventually intolerable to the communist government in the eastern sector. The wall was the result.
From 1961 to 1989 many Germans from East Germany lost their lives trying to cross to freedom.
Willi Brandt, one of the most successful chancellors of West Germany opened the dialog with the East. As a result the East German government was paid millions in valuable currency to release people to their freedom. Nothing was official, all organized by silent diplomacy and the persistence of people with the pressing urge to live a different life. I was one of them. At the age of 23 I finally crossed the border towards my new future in West Germany, not knowing if I ever would see my family again. Many thousands did the same, but many more people wanted their freedom within, which eventually led to the fall of the great wall between East and West Germany!
I am so grateful for the persistence of countless people, the courage and devotion it took from many unnamed heroes in Germany who made the reunification peaceful and possible.
And here we are now, twenty years later, the wall a date in the history books and Germany a strong and devoted part of the European community!
Today I believe most of my countrymen and woman feel all-German, not divided, many of course remember, but by now old wounds have begun to heal!
May Germany never experience anything like it again, may Germany be a peaceful neighbor and strong alliance in Europe and the world.
I feel I am a part of that history, having grown up in East Germany, lived parts of my adult life in West Germany and now my oldest sons again live in Berlin, the symbol of united Germany and they have known the country only as it is now!
Next week I am flying to Berlin with my daughter and we will marvel at its beauty!
This all has made me very happy!
All pictures via google images.