Berliners mark 16 years since the fall of the Wall

9th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

9 November 2005, BERLIN - Berliners marked the 16th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with a low-key ceremony at one of the last remaining stretches of the barrier that once divided Berlin and symbolised the Cold War.

9 November 2005

BERLIN - Berliners marked the 16th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with a low-key ceremony at one of the last remaining stretches of the barrier that once divided Berlin and symbolised the Cold War.

Around 150 people gathered at the stretch of Wall still standing at Bernauer Straße for a ceremony. Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit and the Federal Commisioner for the files of the East German Stasi secret police, Marianne Birthler, lit candles to commemorate the anti-government 'Monday Demonstrations' of autumn 1989 which helped bring down the Wall.

The Berlin Wall was built in 1961 by the East German government to stop a mass exodus westwards. It was breached on 9 November 1989 after Guenter Schabowski, the ruling Politburo's spokesman, announced that the GDR was lifting travel restrictions to West Germany.

Asked when the new regulations would come into effect, he answered, in a famous fumble, "immediately". The regulations were in fact supposed to take effect the next day.

Thousands of people went to the Bernauer Straße border crossing, where the border guards were forced to let them through, heralding the end of the Berlin Wall era. The two Germanys were re-united 11 months later, on 3 October 1990, a date which has - unlike 9 November - become a national holiday in Germany.

Nowadays very few stretches of the Wall are still standing. The longest section, the 'East Side Gallery' runs east from Berlin's Ostbahnhof station and is an open-air gallery.

9 November actually marks several important anniversaries in German history. One of the first major events of the Holocaust, the 'Night of Broken Glass' or Kristallnacht, when synagogues and Jewish businesses were attacked, occurred on 9 November 1938. 15 years earlier, Adolf Hitler's failed 1923 coup attempt in Munich, known as the 'Beer Hall Putsch', was also staged on 9 November.

Copyright Expatica News

Subject: German news

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