Germans mark Berlin Wallopening anniversary

9th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

9 November 2004 , BERLIN - The 15th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall in Germany was marked in Berlin by solemn ceremonies along the site of the former Cold War barrier. Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit was one a series of German leaders who laid wreaths on Tuesday in a Berlin street where it was still possible for weeks after the initial barbed wire went up in 1961 to jump out the windows of East Berlin apartments onto West Berlin territory. The opening of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 herald

9 November 2004

BERLIN - The 15th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall in Germany was marked in Berlin by solemn ceremonies along the site of the former Cold War barrier.

Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit was one a series of German leaders who laid wreaths on Tuesday in a Berlin street where it was still possible for weeks after the initial barbed wire went up in 1961 to jump out the windows of East Berlin apartments onto West Berlin territory.

The opening of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 heralded the collapse not only of communist East Germany but also of the entire East Bloc and the end of the Cold War.

Tens of thousands of weeping Germans poured across the Wall's former death strip into West Berlin. East Germany ceased to exist less than 11 months later when it was absorbed by West Germany in October 1990.

Meanwhile in Philippsthal, a rural town that was once divided by the barrier, a five-metre-long symbolic wall was erected Tuesday by "The Party", a mock political party set up by a German humour magazine entitled "Titanic".

"We want to divide Germany," said the magazine's grinning editor, Martin Sonneborn. "Us and them over there: we're not one people."

The magazine has made a running gag out of the finding that one in five Germans think unification was not beneficial.

The German farmworkers' union Bauen-Agrar-Umwelt joined in the "ceremony", saying this was its way of criticising the fact that eastern farm labourers earn less than those in the west.

Tuesday was also the anniversary of "Kristallnacht" (the night of broken glass), when the Nazis launched a rampage across Germany against synagogues and Jewish property in 1938.

The attacks also marked the start of the Third Reich's genocide during which an estimated six million European Jews were murdered.

Gangs of Nazi goons attacked and burned almost 300 synagogues throughout Germany as well as Jewish homes and businesses. Streets were covered with broken glass, thus the name Kristallnacht.

German Chancellor reminded Germans late Monday that the two dates combined to make 9 November a day of both happiness and shame.

"The pogrom night of 9 November 1938 marked the beginning of the decline into inhumanity," said Schroeder in the statement.

Germans also associate the date with two other events: in 1923, when Adolf Hitler mounted his abortive Beer Hall Putsch in Munich, and in 1918, when Germany's last monarch, Kaiser Wilhelm II, abdicated being defeated in World War I. 

"This is a day of triumph for freedom and democracy. Fifteen years ago the people of East Germany pushed down the Wall and overcame a dictatorship which trampled human rights," said Schroeder. 


"It is a day of happiness but also a day of shame and meditation," concluded Schroeder.

DPA

Subject: German news
 

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