On this day 22 years ago, the Berlin Wall, which separated families, neighbors and friends for nearly three decades, peacefully came down. It was a momentous day in history that has become a symbol of the fall of communism and the rise of democracy in Eastern Europe.
Shortly after the collapse of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, Armin Prediger, working for Drexel University’s newspaper, The Triangle, wrote his account of the events of the collapse. An excerpt follows:
“The people – West German and East German – are delirious…the spirit is infectious…people are laughing, drinking champagne and beer.
“The young people are coming over laughing, but many of the older people face the situation more serenely. Tears surface, partly in joy, partly in frustration, at so many lost years. On this night, love unites every single one of these people.
“The financial situation is rough for the East Germans. The rate of exchange is one to ten; a glass of beer here can cost them 40 East-marks, for most about half a day’s pay. West Germany is a good host though; 100 marks greeting money are given to each and every East German visitor, and most of us hand them a little extra spending money. The spirit of unity, for now, breaks through that financial barrier. Friends, relatives and complete strangers buy them food and drink.”
President Obama has declared today as World Freedom Day
and issued this statement from a press release
“On November 9, 1989, the German people broke through a barrier that divided their nation, demonstrating no wall is strong enough to hold back the rising tide of human liberty. There could be no clearer rebuke of tyranny, nor a stronger affirmation of freedom. On World Freedom Day, we commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall, celebrate the resilience of the human spirit, and stand with all those who live in the darkness of oppression and believe in the hope of a brighter day.”
Classroom Activity Suggestion:
John Kennedy was President when the wall was erected. During his visit to West Berlin in 1963, he spoke in German. Find out what he said and explain what it meant to the people of Berlin. More ideas here