I was too tired yesterday to translate my post about the Fall of The Wall. I had just returned from a presentation about it at the University of Northern Colorado. I thought the presenters did a wonderful job. I was glad to see that so many people (around 100) came to attend the event. It demonstrates that many people here are still fascinated by these very important event that shaped my home country in such a significant way.
It was 20 years ago from yesterday. Oh my gosh! One feels really old thinking about being there life when it all happened. Where has all that time gone?
I was 21 years old, had just moved to Berlin to be a student at the Free University of Berlin. (one of the institutions of higher education on the Western side of the city!) Berlin was a city of students back then. Only few people wanted to live there. In fact so few that the government created an employee bonus, called the Berlinzulage, to encourage people to move to Berlin and work there.
It was the island of hope in the hostile communist East.
I was a student in the North American Studies program at the John-F. Kennedy Institute. Of all things - what irony!
I clearly remember the events of that night. In the early evening hours a good friend of mine called me on the phone. She said: "We must go to the Brandenburger Tor. All hell is breaking loose there. I heard on the radio that people are climbing up on The Wall."
It was a very cold November night when I left the house. I was wearing my thick winter jacket. But the closer we came to the Brandenburg Gate the thicker the masses of people became. There was an atmosphere of partying and laughter all around us. We ran into some friends who had brought hammers and chisels, prepared to take The Wall down tonight! People were lending each other a hand to climb up. Once up there there was a strange mixed feeling of fear and enthusiasm. As one stared down into the chasm of the deathstrip one wondered... There were soldiers, Eastern security personal, with weapons. Were they going to shoot at us? But people threw down gum, candy, cans of coke. It appeared that this strategy was working. No shots were fired. The guards were actually smiling. More and more people felt encouraged to use the tools they had brought along. Out came the chisels and hammers, and we started to take down The Wall that night!
In the picture you can see my little piece of history chiseled from that wall 20 years ago. Long long ago...