Monday, November 9, 2009

Twenty years after the WALL

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.


  1. Wonderful post. I feel your joy and embrace of this post.

  2. Patricia,
    I can hardly tell you how I feel, these are just a few facts, but believe me, it means the world to me....The wall as it existed and the fall of it has changed so many people's lives and destiny, very much my own.
    Thank you for your kind words!

  3. I love that pieces of the wall are located in so many places. I know of one of the towers and a huge section of the wall here in washington dc in the NEWseum as well as the holocaust museum. I've even heard of a men's bathroom in Las Vegas that has a large section! Crazy!

  4. Stefan, you are right, I saw a large piece as well in Boston during the DUCK tour along the waterfront. A large company tower had a segment sitting near their front entrance...It's massive, when you stand in front!

  5. it is a great day for all the germans, especially the ones, who were there and experienced it etc. today, living in berlin, it seems so weird that the city once had been divided. in only twenty years everything has grown together a lot. i am afraid though, that this is not the case for all of germany yet. there are still many obstacles to overcome and i think the whole process of reunification is long not finished. wages, living standards and debates about distributions of state fundings across the country have again rekindled... ! There are still grudgers on both sides. i hope that my generation (i was born in 1990, so i am part of the first generation that was born in the reunited germany) will close the case for good, so that the subject will finally come to an end.
    overall though, i must say that great achievements have been accomplished. germany/berlin is always worth a visit and i can only animate all of you to have a look for yourself since thats always better than anything i could say by using words. =)


  6. there's even a bathroom in some Las Vegas Hotel or something where they installed a Berlin Wall piece in such a way that people actually have to urinate on it.. well, haven't been there, but it's one of the crazy rumors that somehow relates to what you've mentioned before.

    today berlin is a great place to live in. i believe that that is also due to the fact that the city had to go through so much during the past century. but it is still transforming. at least that's how i felt ever since i first came here up until now (living here for over three years).

    i don't mean to make it all appear larger than life.. but berlin is truely different from any other european city because it is still unfinished. look at paris, rome, barcelona, etc. this city is still within the process of finding, re-establishing and building itself.

    all the best from nearby bornholmer straße (where the first border crossing was opened twenty years back from today). there were a lot of festivities going on all day. still i haven't had the feeling that this new germany is glorifying itself. and i hope that people elsewhere don't think so!


  7. You were part of history and now you are creating beauty.
    I found your blog via link from pve.

  8. Amazing to be apart of such an important part of world history. You have truly lived a rich life not many can say. I'm excited for your trip home. Thanks for sharing your story.

  9. A thoughtful and eloquent post!
    Thank you for sharing your heart.
    xo xo

  10. Thank you all for you comments, this IS such an important date - a symbol in my life - and a day to recjoyce!

  11. Great post! I really appreciated learning more about this important date. A couple years ago I spent a year living in Dresden, visited Berlin while I was there. It is such a beautiful city, but the history is what is absolutely fascinating.


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