Looking back: Remembering the fall of the Berlin Wall

29th September 2009, Comments 0 comments

We offer a selection of stories marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dismantling of the Iron Curtain.

20 years after Berlin Wall fell, Nicosia remains divided

Nicosia, the world's only divided capital, remains partitioned horizontally across its middle after the failure of numerous attempts to agree political reconciliation.

Peace eludes victims of East German secret police

For many East Germans who lived through the Iron Curtain, the legacy of the Stasi lives on.

Berlin spies, floundering in the cold

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev once called the German capital, the ‘nest of spies.’ A new tour explores this legacy.

German returns to Stasi jail to mark Berlin Wall's fall

The reenactment, dubbed "Happening," will be broadcast live at www.stasi-live-haft.de.

Where have East Germany's women gone?

With women in eastern Germany steadily migrating westward, some fear they leave declining birth rates and a context predisposed toward extremism in their wake.

Barenboim "proud" to lead Berlin anniversary concert

The famed conductor said he felt the celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall's destruction on November 9 marked its passage into history.

Pope hails fall of Berlin Wall 20 years ago

On November 9, Germany marks 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the country's reunification.

Herta Mueller: Literary conscience of Ceausescu's Romania

The Romanian-born German writer who wrote about Romania under communism has been called “one of the most important literary witnesses of our disastrous era."

German author Herta Mueller wins Nobel Prize for Literature

The author is celebrated for her depictions of the grim daily life under Romanian communism and the harsh treatment of Romanian Germans.

Merkel to address US Congress about the end of communism

The chancellor will speak on the demise of European communism and the future of transatlantic relations six days before commemorations of the Berlin Wall occur in 

'Little Berlin,' the tiny German village divided by a Wall

The village of Moedlareuth, like Berlin, was divided by a Wall during the period of the Iron Curtain – a barrier that divided families, neighbours and friends.

Pope visits Czech Republic 20 years after fall of communism

The trip will take the head of the Roman Catholic Church to Prague, Brno in the south and Stara Boleslav, a pilgrimage site north of the capital, dedicated to the country's main patron saint Wenceslas.

Authoritarian regimes emerging in east Europe, says former Czech president

Vaclav Havel, a prominent leader in the “Velvet Revolution,” said that the old networks of authoritarian regimes are still around in eastern Europe.

Freedom train takes former East Germans to West again

The train set out on the 20th anniversary of a journey that became one of the symbols of the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.

East Germany's last leader still believes in socialism

Egon Krenz took over from long-term communist leader Erich Honecker on October 18, 1989, as the regime vainly sought to regain control of a country engulfed in a peaceful revolution that brought down the hated Berlin Wall just three weeks later.

'Candles and prayers' against the Berlin Wall

In the months leading up to the fall of the Wall and during the 11 months thereafter leading up to German reunification, the Protestant Church played a key role in pushing for democratic pluralism.

Smoke-spewing Trabant poised for rebirth as electric car

The infamous East German car is about to be revamped in 21st century green.

Baltics mark 1989 human chain that defied Soviets

Capping a weekend of events, Latvian President Valdis Zatlers ran the last stretch of a 31-hour, 678-kilometre relay along the original route of the human chain that became known as the Baltic Way.

Looking back: East Germans relive fraught flight to freedom

Marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain, a few East Germans remember their perilous fight to freedom.

Looking back: Tears, shouts of joy at the Hungarian border in 1989

On August 19, 1989, a PanEuropean Picnic was organised near the Austro-Hungarian border to celebrate the dismantling of the fence that had for over two decades divided the West from the Communist bloc.

European leaders mark 20 years since Iron Curtain breach

Angela Merkel, who spent most of her childhood and studied in communist East Germany, spoke at a commemoration near the Austro-Hungarian border area where East German refugees had been waiting for the moment to run to freedom on August 19, 1989.

Looking back: The picnic that destroyed the Iron Curtain

On August 19, 1989, a few hundred East Germans fled the communist bloc to Austria after breaking through a closed border gate near Sopronkohida in western Hungary.


First Iron Curtain breach was to test Soviet reaction

Former Hungarian premier Miklos Nemeth said that at the time he did not know whether to believe a promise from then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that there would be no repeat of the bloody suppression of Hungary's 1956 uprising.

Zugliget parish remembers its East German refugees

On August 14, 1989, after a call for help from the West German embassy, Father Kozma, now 69, opened the first humanitarian camp for East German refugees waiting to flee to Austria, on the grounds of his church.

Berlin Wall escape tunnel heroes celebrated

In June 1962, 10 months after the communist East German regime built the despised Wall, one West German pair risked their lives to try to reunite with their wives and children in East Berlin with a bold plan to burrow their way through a makeshift tunnel.

Barbed Wire Sunday’: the day the Berlin Wall went up

As Germany gears up to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the hated Berlin Wall, some are remembering the day the painful divider went up.

When Cold War enemies clashed in the kitchen

The so-called "kitchen debate" erupted on July 24, 1959, when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and American Vice President Richard Nixon got into an impromptu argument about the merits of their countries' economic systems.

Hungary marks fall of Iron Curtain 20 years on

The heads of state and government of a dozen European nations gathered in the Hungarian capital to mark the event that preceded the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

The communist corrosion that brought down the Berlin Wall

In the summer of 1989, the Austro-Hungarian border was opened for three hours, allowing 600 East Germans to escape to the West. It was an act that, for many, signalled the end of the Iron Curtain.

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