It’s 25 years since the Berlin wall came down. This is celebrated in Germany today. It’s important to remember. I don’t want to write a historic report about that here. There are many more qualified people doing that. And you can find a lot of information on newspapers websites and here at the Berlin Wall memorial
It is a personal telling about what I remember and think about today.
November 9th 1989 – This is one of the days in my life I actually remember where I was. A lot had happened during the weeks before. people in the DDR (Eastern Germany) were out on the streets protesting, claiming more freedom. Many had went to and finally got the permission to travel to the BRD (Western Germany). It all started month ago.
Hungary turned down the border fortifications to Austria. Hundreds DDR-citizens escaped through Hungary to the West. Many found their ways to the Western German embassies in Budapest, Praha and Warszawa to get travel papers. August 23rd the refugees in Budapest were allowed to go to the BRD, and the refugees in Praha and Warszawa got the permission September, 30th. I remember the news reports when the first cars drove over the border. It was an emotional time.
November 9th in the evening I was sitting in my room after doing homework for hours. I had listen to my favourite music for a while. I was still 16 years old… I had planned my birthday party and how to celebrate it since it would only be a couple of days later. 17 is a big day 😉 I sat down to watch some tv. So much had happened the days before and I tried to keep up with the news. I was switching between different channels. And on one channel they had pictures from Berlin, people on both sides at the wall, celebrating. They said the border was open.It felt unreal. I went into the living room to tell my parents. They didn’t believe me first. But I convinced them to switch channels. I don’t think anyone expected that those days.
Growing up in Western Germany with family in Eastern Germany was a bit surreal. As a child I was told about. I myself have never crossed the border to DDR. But family members have.
My mother’s father and my father were born in a part of Germany that’s Poland today. After the second world war they in different ways came to life in the later BRD. It would take to long to write how here and now… I remember some family celebrations were one of the DDR relatives were a guest. I remember that as a child I felt there were kind of special guests. There was something special about them. Everyone had to talk a lot to them, asking about the family and old friend from earlier times, how things are “at home”.
The older generations of my father’s familiy were inner german refugees. The second world war had changed their lives, the left their homes and were scattered all over the different zones. Some in the Russian, some in the British, some in the American and some in the French zone. I often wondered how it could be that we had relatives in “the other Germany”. That’s a part of our history the adults didn’t talk a lot when we children were around. It was kind of “long time ago”, “you don’t need to think about the war” and so on.
In a way I understand why. On the other side there’s a lit of historic knowledge and information that got lost. I once read at a museum “People who don’t know their history don’t have a future.” I often think that if the older generation had spent more time telling us about their past, we might be closer to each other in our family today. Instead we children grow up with adults with a lot of issues with each other….
I knew my grandparents were sending parcels and letters hoping they would arrive. As a child I didn’t understand why they shouldn’t. I was sure their mail carrier was as nice as ours…. Later I started to write letters with a far away cousin around my age in the DDR. I thought she was a bit lazy since I didn’t get many letters and I loved to write and get letters. So I was writing a lot about everything I could think of. Later I learned that many of my letters never arrived…. Especially not those with popstar photos and magazines… I remember I was very angry about that. How could somebody decide which letter to pass and which not. I’m sure the Stasi had me on a list….
When I think back at these days I remember we all thought that now, finally, there would be more peace in the world. The cold war would be over forever. But as history shows – there were new wars to come, also in Europe. Today there are wars and armed conflicts. new walls has been built. There are countries divided into two by borders and walls. History is repeating itself 😦 That’s I personally believe is the reason why it’s so important to remember what happened in 1989. That’s important to not forget that the impossible is possible. That’s why it’s important to show and remember that there are peaceful ways to make change happen. I greatly admire the people who made the change possible. We don’t know how the world would look like today without them.
Wish you all a happy Sunday ❤