8 October 2009

The Turning Point

A prayer service for peace in an historic Lutheran church in the East German city of Leipzig 20 years ago triggered the chain of events that exactly a month later led to the opening of the Berlin Wall, writes Anli Serfontein for Ecumenical News International. As people gathered after work on the afternoon of 9 October 1989 in the Nikolaikirche (St Nicholas' Church) and three other inner-city churches in Leipzig to pray for peace and democracy, the signs of potential violence were uppermost in most people's minds. Two days earlier, as Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was in East Berlin for the 40th anniversary celebrations of the East German state, pro-democracy demonstrations there had been put down with force. Before the prayer service took place, however, ominous warnings had appeared in Leipzig's communist-run media suggesting that armed force would be used to suppress demonstrators. Rumours circulated of hospitals building up blood reserves and being put on alert to deal with bullet wounds. Read more here >>

Meanwhile the German Protestant magazine Chrismon has an article on 9 October 1989 as a "day of decision"

Photo: (c) LTM/Andreas Schmidt


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