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November 9th 1989: The Night The Iron Curtain Fell  
User currently offlineAndreas From Germany, joined Oct 2001, 6104 posts, RR: 31
Posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 1420 times:

Yes, friends and neighbours, today November 9th, 15 years ago, the iron curtain finished its miserable life in Berlin, starting with a funny little press conference on the 9 o’clock news of “Aktuelle Kamera”, and 2 hours later, one of the most hardliner Soviet satellite state was history, and with it the Berlin Wall and as a nice little extra, the whole iron curtain crumbled to pieces.

That was the only time in my life when I was actually a little bit proud to be German, because it was and still is one of the great historical achievements (IMHO) that they did this without firing one shot.

Most of you will know the story of 1989, how it started during the summer, so I guess it’s useless to post it, just let me remind you of some milestones during that summer that I will never forget:

1. The scene at the German embassy in Prague, where 6,000 East Germans lived under sub-human conditions, when German secretary of state Genscher went up on the balcony and said something like “…darf Ihnen mitteilen, dass heute Ihre Ausreise…”, the rest went under in a collective scream, they cheered so loud, no more words could be heard.
2. The GDR government had negotiated that the trains that should bring these 6,000 to West Germany should drive through GDR stations slowly, to make a political statement…can you imagine the terror of those people inside the trains? But then, they rolled through Dresden…and there were thousands of people cheering like mad, making a statement of their own!!
3. During October, the demonstrations in Berlin brought hundreds of thousands of people to the streets, their motto was “Wir sind das Volk” (WE are the people), and as was found out later, Erich Honecker had signed the order to bring down the crowd by violence, ordering tanks to Alexanderplatz. The order got stuck somewhere in the middle of the chain of command, it never reached the tank commanders and the commanders of the Volkspolizei (who had already downright refused to shoot).
4. Also in October Erich “ick liebe Euch doch alle” Mielke signed an order to bring down the Monday demonstrations in Leipzig by chemical warfare…here as well, the order just faded away while being handed down the chain of command (and those who know Stasi-Mielke: These people virtually put their own lives to risk!!)
5. And finally that press conference with Politbureau-Member Guenther Schabowski speaking of the freedom of media and the freedom to travel freely….and somebody asked “and when will this happen??” And Onkel Guenther (he’s now an after dinner speaker in Berlin, a very funny one, and they call him Onkel Guenther) says “Keene Ahnung, da steht hier nüscht, ick würde mal sajen, ab sofort, wa?” in broad Berliner slang, meaning “no idea, they didn’t tell me, I’d say, right now”.

…and 2 hours later, the GDR was history (actually it was 11 months later, but in fact it dies that night)!! Thousands dancing on top of the wall (like myself Big grin), ten thousands standing around on the Kurfuerstendamm, looking as if they just woke up from a strange dream, then the first bottles of champagne and “Rotkaeppchensekt” went around, and then the real party started, just to be repeated the next night and the next…



I know it's only VfB but I like it!
35 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineThom@s From Norway, joined Oct 2000, 11953 posts, RR: 46
Reply 1, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 1407 times:

How time flies...  Smile Not that I remember the above as it happened though.. Big grin

Thom@s



"If guns don't kill people, people kill people - does that mean toasters don't toast toast, toast toast toast?"
User currently offlineMdsh00 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 4125 posts, RR: 8
Reply 2, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 1403 times:

I dont remember in all that detail that you do since I was 8 years old. I do remember watching CNN and seeing the people pounding away at the wall and eventially bringing down a peice of it. At that age I thought that the wall separated the entire East and West Germany!  Nuts

I do however have a vivid memory of the fall of the USSR and specifically remember watching the tv showing the changing of the flag.



"Look Lois, the two symbols of the Republican Party: an elephant, and a big fat white guy who is threatened by change."
User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 14030 posts, RR: 62
Reply 3, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 1399 times:

Don´t stone me, but I was sleeping through this night, even though I was just living 2 miles away from the wall back then. I had a hard day working (it was a friday) and next morning, when I travelled by bus and underground from my place in Neukölln to my parent´s place in Lichterfelde, I wondered about all the Trabbis and the smell of two stroke exhaust. At my parent´s place, I finaly got a newspaper.

Jan


User currently offlineScotty From UK - Scotland, joined Dec 1999, 1875 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 1394 times:

Andreas. I was in Munich a few days later and remember the headline in a newspaper "Berlin hat Freiheit"

Amazing times - I wish I had been on that wall with you.


User currently offlineAndreas From Germany, joined Oct 2001, 6104 posts, RR: 31
Reply 5, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 1380 times:

Thx Scotty, and I can tell you it was amazing!!!

I was living in a student's home on Potsdamer Strasse, about 400 meters away from the wall, and I was basically prepared to go to bed or wait for some friends to call and drive to Kreuzberg to our former favorite pub, "Strings", and have one of our usual Berlin nights, that didn't usually end before 8 o'clock in the morning Big grin

We phoned each other up, talked about it, didn't know what to do with it, but by then, the first news about Bernauer Strasse started to trickle in, that people were gathering there, and then that were actually people coming through FROM THE EAST!!!! *gasp*

We felt that might be history in the making and got our cars and started to drive around (BIIIIIG mistake, as it turned out  Big grin Big grin) and, well...the rest is indeed history.

Even remembering this nowadays, 15 (!!) years later, leaves me somewhat flabbergasted and, looking at the TV specials that are shown on German TV thesedays, somewhat leaky around the eyes Big grin



I know it's only VfB but I like it!
User currently offlineAndreas From Germany, joined Oct 2001, 6104 posts, RR: 31
Reply 6, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 1374 times:

Mdsh00: But you were right!! That wall separated both countries over the entire length of the borderline except where rivers did the job! It wasn't a wall at all places but sometimes a fence, too, but basically you are right!


I know it's only VfB but I like it!
User currently offlineScotty From UK - Scotland, joined Dec 1999, 1875 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 1368 times:

Andreas

During summer I met a chap from the East of Berlin who was working in a hotel in Scotland. He told me that on the night, he was listening to radio broadcasts in his room, and went down to the Brandenburg Gate early in the morning. He got over to the west, even though they fully expected the East guards to open fire or at least stop them from going through. He bought a couple of bottles of West German beer, took them home to his house and put them on the kitchen table. His father, who recalled the "liberation" by the Red Army, the Berlin airlift, and the day the wall went up, got up from his bed, looked at the beers and said to the son "my God, where HAVE you been"?

When it was explained, the father and the rest of the family were in tears and the father said "at last the war is over".


User currently offlineAndreas From Germany, joined Oct 2001, 6104 posts, RR: 31
Reply 8, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 1364 times:

Right, that was the first time I drank East German Rotkaeppchen (little red riding hood-)Sekt...and it wasn't much fun...the girl who shared it with me onthe other hand Big grin Big grin Big grin...became my first East German girl friend!!! Very exotic, I can tell you!!


I know it's only VfB but I like it!
User currently offlineOvelix From Greece, joined Aug 1999, 639 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 1358 times:

Andreas, congratulations to your country and your city of course which I consider one of the more beautiful cities in Europe.

I happen to have read many books about WW2 and I was always sorry when it came to the destruction of the city and the suffering of the people. And after the 1933-1945 tyranny there comes another for another 45 years. The older Berliners must have incredible courage to endure all these. Kudos to you my friend and your generation of "new" Berliners and Germans who represent the true new European vision. Just one note: Never forget and never dismiss your history. Good or bad, it's there to teach us lessons and make us remember.


User currently offlineDelboy From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 725 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 1352 times:


I was in Berlin the day before and was amazed by the city. All round the 'wall' there were East German soldiers selling their military uniforms from wallpaper tables...it was amazing!!


User currently offlineAndreas From Germany, joined Oct 2001, 6104 posts, RR: 31
Reply 11, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1339 times:

Delboy: These are Russians Big grin Big grin Big grin The east Germans have long since sold all East German memorabilia they ever owned.

Ovelix: Well the old Berliners are those who took it quite easy, at least the West Berliners. It was a non-disputable fact that the city was virtually dying, younger people went to West Germany, and the only young people coming to town were students (like myself), who left town after their diplomas, since there were no jobs for them inside Berlin.
This behaviour left the city somewhat paralyzed even after the wall came down...people were used to be financially pampered by the federal government, but suddenly this cash inflow stopped...but that is another story, I'm afraid!

I do not dismiss the history of Germany, I never did and I never will. But I do have problems feeling "proud" about being a German, or male, or white or whatever...maybe this is something German, a leftover from 3rd Reich, but I still see no point in being proud of the way or the place you were accidentally born. But one needs to learn lessons from history, that much is certain!!



I know it's only VfB but I like it!
User currently offlineFraT From Germany, joined Sep 2003, 1107 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1333 times:

Good post Andreas.

I just heard that one third of all Germans do not know what happened on the 9th of November 1989. That is a shame. Unfortunately the German government decided to have our national holiday on the day of the reunification (3rd of October). I'm sure many Germans would prefer the 9th of November.

I was in Berlin in June of 89 with my school class. This was five months before the wall came down and nothing, absolutely nothing gave a hint of what would happen later that year. We went to East Berlin and it was so depressing.

On November 9th I came home from Basketball practice and saw my father in tears with a glass of champagne sitting in front of the TV. He was born and raised in East Germany and came to the west days before the Soviets closed the border.


User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 14030 posts, RR: 62
Reply 13, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 1320 times:

People,

just don´t forget that November 9th is also the anniversary of the November Revolution in Germany in 1918, which ended WW1 (when the sailors of the German Navy rebelled against an order to sail for a last glorious suicide battle against the Royal Navy, and soon joined forces with fed up soldiers and workers)
and the infamous "Reichskristallnacht" of 1938, when Nazi thugs stormed and destroyed Jewish property all over Germany and imprisoned and killed hundreds of opponents.

Jan


User currently offlineAndreas From Germany, joined Oct 2001, 6104 posts, RR: 31
Reply 14, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 1312 times:

FraT: No I guess nobody in his right mind was able to predict what was about to happen. It started to dawn on us that something might be about to happen during October, when more and more people went to demonstrate, and the Staatsrat was no more able to act, but only to re-act.

Probably the most exciting time of my life, I can assure you, not exactly better than sex but pretty close....and much much longer  Big grin Big grin

btw: November 9th would be much better, because everybody has good memories, THAT was the historical date. October 3rd, though, is the day most people associate with Solidaritätszuschlag and Helmut Kohl singing the national anthem...in other words: bad memories Big grin



I know it's only VfB but I like it!
User currently offlineNoUFO From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 7958 posts, RR: 12
Reply 15, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 1305 times:

Yes, November 9th is a fateful day in German history.

In 1989, I studied in Hamburg and witnessed the fall of the Iron Curtain on TV. It was a live broadcast of what I call "accelerated history". Within hours, the world had dramatically changed.

Hopefully, we will never see history in its negative acceleration.



I support the right to arm bears
User currently offlineNoUFO From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 7958 posts, RR: 12
Reply 16, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 1294 times:

And tourists wonder where the wall is.  Big thumbs up


Spiegel



I support the right to arm bears
User currently offlineAndreas From Germany, joined Oct 2001, 6104 posts, RR: 31
Reply 17, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 1285 times:

And before Kirkie starts to posts nonsense (as usual):
That's neither myself nor friends nor relatives of mine on this pic!


And boy, that bloody thing was SO HARD!!!!! Quality made in East Germany...the best they ever built!!!  Big grin



I know it's only VfB but I like it!
User currently offlineNoUFO From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 7958 posts, RR: 12
Reply 18, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 1269 times:

Andreas, you missed an occasion to claim that the cutie in the middle is/was your girl.


I support the right to arm bears
User currently offlineCommander_Rabb From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 771 posts, RR: 7
Reply 19, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 1259 times:

The one group of people that could possibly be as happy as the Germans seeing the Berlin Wall fall piece by piece are we Americans.

It was great to see the wall being chipped away with all kinds of tools wielded by ecstatic Germans that night.

Do any of you Germans have a piece of the wall today?

It was a great day!



User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8455 posts, RR: 10
Reply 20, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 1253 times:
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I was visiting my grandmother in Leeds at the time, she had a tiny flat so I was sleeping on the couch, I remember turning on the TV in the morning and hardly believing what I was seeing.

There is a segment of the wall outside the BMW Imax Cinema at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.



After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
User currently offlineAndreas From Germany, joined Oct 2001, 6104 posts, RR: 31
Reply 21, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 1233 times:

Not my taste, Nobby  Big grin Big grin I like C Cups or above Big grin

C_R: Yes as a matter of fact I do...and I worked real hard for it Big grin Big grin Big grin



I know it's only VfB but I like it!
User currently offline777heavy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 1225 times:

Andreas

Many thx for remembering these historical moment. 15 years ago where has the time gone? I just read the Spiegel online chronicle.

Unfortunately 1989 I was just 11 years old and cant remember everything. But I think my parents and I sat at home and watched Onkel Guenthers famous press conference Smile/happy/getting dizzy
On the 11th of November (Saturday) I visited Berlin-West for the first time. We got our 100DM welcome money in a savings-bank in Berlin-Wannsee after surviving a very long queue. And on our way home - we had to walk all the long way from Wannsee train station to the Glienicker Bridge because all buses were overcrowded - an elderly woman gave us 20DM. Unbelievable!

Im very glad that I was allowed to be a part of these great times.

Daniel



User currently offlineCommander_Rabb From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 771 posts, RR: 7
Reply 23, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 1221 times:

Andreas

Could you share how you got a piece of the wall and what you did that night?

You are part of history and that is wonderful. Please tell your story.


User currently offlineBoeing757/767 From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 2282 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 1217 times:

I was in college in 1989 and following the events with fascination. Then, one afternoon, I was doing some homework in my room when a friend called and yelled: "Turn on the TV!!!"

I sat in amazement, my jaw open and a tear in my eye.



Free-thinking, left-leaning secularist
25 Ltbewr : I am an American, and visited Berlin on 3 trips to Germany in 1987, June 1990 and 2000. The experiences of seeing the Wall and Berlin over those three
26 Yu138086 : So what is there to see at the sight now? Cheers?
27 Sccutler : Andreas, I recall it well and recall that I was moved at the gravity of waht I was watching from across the Atlantic. My sister lived in Berlin for so
28 Post contains images RayChuang : I remember seeing the scene of the Berlin Wall falling on CNN that fateful night on 9 November 1989. It was a sight that I will never forget. By the w
29 Eg777er : I've seen the film Good-bye Lenin! and thought it was very good....how accurate of a representation of the time is it?
30 Bill142 : I do however have a vivid memory of the fall of the USSR and specifically remember watching the tv showing the changing of the flag. Thats about all I
31 Post contains images Andreas : Good morning, sorry couldn't answer right away, sometimes I must make some money Well thx for your interest in this historical moment, I certainly con
32 MD11Engineer : AFAIK; Gorbatchev made it clear to Honnecker during their last meeting during the celebrations for the 40th anniversary of East Germany about one mont
33 Post contains images Andreas : Jan, I guess it was always clear that Gorbatchev did pull a lot of strings in the backstage area...what makes me still wonder after all those years: N
34 Commander_Rabb : Andreas, thanks for sharing your story. An Amazing few days!
35 Post contains images Slider : "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" -Ronald Reagan I remember it vividly as well, but was stateside. I few years ago, one of my best friends, who wa
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