8 May 2009

How the End of East Germany Began

The English language site of Der Spiegel magazine has an article about the protests that emerged in East Germany from the rigged elections of May 1989. It quotes a report from Spiegel about the protests after after the elections:

Making free use of their batons, security forces went after a few hundred demonstrators who had gathered in central Leipzig on the evening of election day and on the Monday following. More than 100 demonstrators were arrested.
Journalists from West Germany were not allowed into the city. East German media
ignored the protests, reporting instead on the 'celebratory mood across the

Last night former East German civic rights activists gathered on Alexanderplatz to mark the start of the open air exhibition about the end of the GDR:
Surrounded by photos and documents that will be on display on the square
for the next six months, East German folk hero Wolf Biermann took to the stage.
In 1976, Biermann was stripped of his East German citizenship for the political
songs he wrote that were viciously critical of the SED leadership. On Thursday,
he sang some of those songs and reminded the crowd that political freedom is far
from inevitable. "Even in 1989, my political fantasy was not nearly enough to
imagine that the East German regime would ever collapse," he said. He went on to
describe watching the Nov. 4, 1989 mass gathering on Alexanderplatz on West
German television. "I was envious," he said.


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