10 November 2009

The Berlin Wall is open ...

Jane's diary: 1.15 am, 10 November 1989

The Berlin Wall is open!! Yesterday's new Politburo opened it this evening. The Iron Curtain too. I can't believe it. I had been interpreting all day for some American journalists in Wittenberg and fell asleep at 6 p.m. exhausted. I woke up at midnight and tried to get back to sleep. At 1 a.m. I switched on the radio. This is amazing. Soon East Germans will have more freedom of movement than I do, since I'm here with a single-entry visa. The other students had already gone home today for the long weekend back in their local churches. One of them is in Berlin. I wonder if he's going to go to West Berlin for the day. It's really strange.


The atmosphere is amazing. People's faces in the street even look different.


Crazy, things are moving so fast that it's impossible to settle down. There's an intense need to be with people to experience it together. People don't know whether to laugh or cry. It's like a strange fairy tale. I spent most of this afternoon waiting for a phone call from the BBC for an interview. Stephen phoned and we had a happy conversation early this morning. Amazing. It was brilliant to be able to share our stunned amazement.

Have just been watching the pictures on television. East and West German police working together to sort out the chaos, despite new "holes" in the wall there's total blockage because of the human traffic in both directions. People climbing over the wall, being helped by police with ladders. It seem like some kind of surreal sci-fi story. And then the pictures of Willy Brandt at the border, incredibly moving. What must he have been thinking as the people in the east hugged and greeted him. Mayor of West Berlin when the wall was built, did he think he would live to see this day., Tears rolled down my cheeks.

Behind all this celebration is very real uncertainty. What is going to happen?

Yesterday was a historic day - the Berlin Wall was opened. Fifty one years ago, my Berlin grandfather was arrested and taken to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp following the Kristallnacht of 9 November 1938, the "night of broken glass" of the attacks against synagogues, Jewish Germans and their property. It is strange to think that these two events will share an anniversary.

Posted by Jane.


Mrs Redboots (Annabel Smyth) said...

How I remember it! I was in London, and wishing, desperately, that we could fly to Berlin for the weekend (alas, in the pre-Ryanair era this wasn't possible); the world was turning upside-down, and Berlin was the only place to be....

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