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25th anniversary of the peaceful revolution and the fall of the Berlin Wall

That night changed our lives, says Chancellor

It was an amazing feeling to walk across the Bornholm Bridge into the western part of Berlin for the first time, said Chancellor Angela Merkel in her video podcast to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. She had waited 35 years to have this feeling of freedom.

"That changed our lives," continued Angela Merkel. Although there are still structural differences today, it is true to say that the young generation today has grown together. Thanks to the support of former West Germany, the states in the east of the country have been able to catch up a long way. Today we can see the flourishing landscapes that Helmut Kohl spoke of back in 1989. The east-west migration has dried up, as is shown by the 2014 report on the status of German unity.

"And that is why I believe that what belongs together is really growing together," declared the Chancellor with conviction.

On 9 November 1989 nobody could have expected this development. First of all, the inconceivable happened that evening: after 28 years, two months and 28 days the Berlin Wall fell. The courage of civil rights activists and hundreds of thousands of peaceful demonstrators brought it down, and thus paved the way for German unification. The German government and the state of Berlin will be celebrating the anniversary of this day on 9 November 2014 at the Brandenburg Gate.

9 November – a historic day

"The ninth of November is a historic day," said presenter Hanns Joachim Friedrichs on the German late-night news programme ARD-Tagesthemen at 22:42. The German Democratic Republic had announced that it had opened its borders with immediate effect for everybody.

Many of us still have the images of that night in Berlin in our minds: overjoyed people, some with tears in their eyes, hugging and celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall. The words on everybody’s lips? "It’s just incredible!".

But for Germans 9 November was not only a special day in 1989. In 1918 the same day marked the founding of the first German republic, and 20 years later it saw the anti-Jewish pogroms of the "Night of Broken Glass", ushering in the darkest chapter of German history with the start of the open persecution of Jews by the National Socialist regime.

The German government supports and fosters the commemoration of both events: the anti-Jewish pogroms of the "Night of Broken Glass" and the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is a source of great joy that the more recent of these two events marks a victory for freedom.

Nov 06, 2014