4 November 2009

4 November 1989 - from Jane's diary

Dateline 5 November

Yesterday a huge demo in Berlin on the Alexanderplatz. Friedrich (Schorlemmer) spoke, it was strange to see him on televion. We crowded into the smokey room at midday and in the typical way of students laughed at our lecturer. He wasn't as bad as we wanted him to be, but it was obvious he was nervous and not as in control as he encourages us to be in our homiletic classes. He had written his speech and spoke it for the applause, not consciously I'm sure, but it's easy to know what will please people, what they want to hear at moments like the current "Aufbruch". He spoke of dealing with guilt according to the law, and not becoming like oppressers and going down the road of retaliation.

He was followed by Christa Wolf, she left pauses for applause but didn't orinetate her speech so much in that direction. She spoke beautifully, she has such a way with words, and wonderful images. Towards the end she said, " just imagine, it's socialism and no one goes away" - a wonderful reworking of "Imagine it is war, and no one joins up". I saw the tears springing in the eyes of one of my fellow students and felt my own body prickling with emotion. Sitting in this smelly and uncomfortable room watching history being broadcast live on GDR television. Quite amazing, and so difficult to believe. Can this really be happening?

The most amazing woman, Steffi Spierer, came on at the end - utterly spellbinding. She had three words for her great-grandchildren - no more have to swear on the flag, no more blue shirts of the Free German Youth, and that on the 1st of May the people can stand on the tribune as the party marches past.


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