Contemporary witnesses tell their stories

“The fall of the Wall at our office.”

Gedenkstätte Berliner Maue Bernauer Strasse c visitBerlin Foto: Günter Steffen

When the Wall fell, I was six years old. I still wish that I had been older; I would have noticed more of this event and its significance. I actually don’t remember the fall of the Wall itself. I only know that there was unrest in the air. My mother was terribly upset. As the child of a single parent,...Read on


“We were welcomed by people from the other Berlin.”

East Side Gallery c visitBerlin Foto: Philip Koschel

The events of this period (the October demonstrations on Alexanderplatz, Schabowski’s press conference, etc.) bowled me over like most people. The pictures of Bornholmer Brücke on Western TV around 11 o’clock that night drove me to go out and check things out for myself. I drove my car to the Heinrich-Heine-Straße border crossing. At about quarter past midnight, I got...Read on


“Unbelievable, incredible, impossible, absolutely crazy”

BERLINER-MAUER c Berlin daily Foto: Hans Peter Stiebing

On the night of 9 November 1989, like so many others, we watched the TV with tension in the air. We thought we were dreaming or were watching some fictional film. What happened next? The slip-up of the decade. I wonder if Schabowski ever understood what he had done that night. We didn’t even think of getting up and running...Read on


“The gate actually opened.”

Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer c visitBerlin Foto: Susan Steudtemann

I was with my mother on the day the border at Bornholmer Straße opened. We had seen Günter Schabowski’s press conference in the news and thought: “Let’s take a look at the border to see if it’s already open!” Shortly after we got there (about 30 minutes), the gate actually opened. We were blown away! Since then, I organise triathlon...Read on


“And suddenly we were in West Berlin.”

On 9 November 1989, at 7 o’clock, I was sitting with my friend in Berlin-Pankow eating supper. The political excitement of the days before and especially on this day culminated in what our 12-year-old daughter said after we heard on the radio what Mr Schabowski had announced: “Mommy, Mommy, we can now go to the West, hurray, hurray!” At first,...Read on