November 9, Germany is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, which for 28 years divided the country into two separate States – East Germany (East Berlin) and Germany (West Berlin). This day is special in the history of Germany: 9 November 1918, Germany ceased to be a monarchy into a democratic Republic. Five years later, in Munich, was suppressed by the so-called beer hall putsch, organized by Adolf Hitler, and on 9 November 1938 the Nazis staged pogroms against the Jews, known in history as “crystal night”.
On the evening of 9 November 1989 the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Socialist unity party of Germany (SED), günter Schabowski, in one sentence and without knowing it opened the borders of the GDR, answering the question of the Italian journalist Riccardo Ehrman about the new rules, giving the citizens of the GDR the right to enter the capitalist countries for a period up to 30 days.
Schabowski flipped through his papers and read out the decision of the Politburo that the GDR citizens are allowed to apply for a Commission of private trips abroad without good reason. On the question of what number of a permit, Schabowski awkwardly replied, “as far As I know, from now on,” says DW.
That same night thousands of East Berliners rushed to the checkpoints. GDR border guards were not ready for such rapid developments. The authorities were confused and soon gave the instruction to open the gates.
“The border guards, who had not seen the evening of the telecast, couldn’t understand. Any orders over not been reported. The crowd insisted. After telephone conversations confused edge the boss gives the command to raise the barrier at the checkpoint “Bornholmer Brücke”. The wall fell” – quoted “Radio Liberty” memoirs of a cameraman Yuri Veksler.
For most Berliners it was a sleepless night of happiness. The people rejoiced. the streets were clogged with cars. All went in the direction of West Berlin. Every citizen of the GDR arriving in West Germany or West Berlin and automatically receive one hundred marks ($55 at the then exchange rate) as a gift. Came home late in the evening with gifts and shopping halfpenny, writing in the pages of “Novaya Gazeta” historian Leonid Mlechin.
After the fall of the Berlin wall, more than 400 thousand East Germans moved to the West. It was a real escape from the socialist system. 31 Aug 1990 the FRG and the GDR, signed an agreement “On the construction of German unity”. 3 Oct Eastern land already part of Germany. The German Democratic Republic ceased to exist.
In the GDR erected in 1961, the Berlin wall was called the “antifascist protective rampart” in Germany – the “wall of shame”. To be on the other side of the border, the residents of East Berlin used sometimes unimaginable ways: from the tunnels to the balloons and makeshift planes. The border police without warning fired at those who tried to leave the GDR.
According to the Director of the Berlin wall Museum Alexandra Hildebrandt, over the years the artificial boundaries died 1902 people. “It’s very clear. We are working and looking. And we find, unfortunately. But we’re guessing a little more,” said Hildebrandt in an interview with RFI.
Actually in Berlin there were two walls between them lay the “death strip widths from 15 to 150 meters, where any intruder could have shot. The total length of the wall is about 170 km, of which 45 km were held in Berlin. The number of observation towers – 302; number of bins is 20. Between 1961 and 1989, the West Berlin police registered more than 5,000 successful escapes.
After the destruction of about 40 thousand units of the Berlin wall was used for various construction projects in Germany, many were sold or donated to other cities. In Moscow, a fragment of the Berlin wall installed at the Sakharov center, RBC reminds.
The BBC Russian service in the project “the Wall. Five stories” tells the story of several people whose life was connected with the Berlin wall. One of the heroes of the material, 81-year-old doctor Burkhart Weigl as a student in 1961, helped the residents of East Berlin to escape to the West.
Weigl and his associates collected the passports of residents of Germany who were willing to give them up, and pasted back photos wanted to run Gdrovtsev. After the secret police “Stasi” has tightened the inspection of the inhabitants of Germany, Weigl and his associates went for the passport to Austria and Scandinavia, which helped to run dozens of residents of East Berlin.
With the tightening of control Weigl and other activists arranged shoots through the tunnels, people were taken to hiding under the hood of the seven-meter “Cadillac” size “ocean liner”.
Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7128