Monday, 9 November 2009
bornholmer strasse: 9 november 1989
twenty years ago, the berlin wall came down. long before i moved to berlin, it all started right here, less than a five minute bike ride from my house. it was a november day, nothing spectacular, until that press conference by GDR party officials who by the by mentioned that from now on, east german citizens were free to travel. yes, as of now. and yes, that goes for berlin, too. people were stunned. seriously? just like that, after 28 years?
after it made the west german news that evening, east berliners started queuing up at the checkpoints, thousands of people. finally, at half past eleven that night, the border patrol at bornholmer strasse decided to let people pass. have you seen film footage of that night, or photographs? people were crying, they were elated, they couldn't believe it.
i went to bornholmer strasse this afternoon. it was raining. i expected to be able to quietly stroll across the bridge before the official celebrations started, and take a few pictures. how naive. it was crowded. but although i usually can't stand crowds, i stayed. i chatted with some people who told me how they had been living in the neighbourhood when the wall came up in 1961, how they waved at the relatives from their window and cried. and how they were there in 1989 and walked over to the west. finally able to see friends and family in the other half of the city.
i'm glad i went.
read a bit more over on my other blog.