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Friday, 7 November 2014

Germany: The Fall of the Berlin Wall, November 9th, Twenty Five Years Ago; Begrüßungsgeld; Celebration Weekend; Wind of Change, Hungary; Czechoslovakia

While we seem to be rebuilding walls in the UK, a timely reminder...

Timothy Garton Ash, in The Guardian

BBC items

The Economist (Eastern Approaches)

Celebration Weekend, MSN

Weekend (7-9) tips

Overview of Celebrations

BBC overview

I was there in East Berlin too, on 7th November and from 9th-12th November, 1989 (in fact I was making an official visit to the GDR, from 4-12 November 1989). My on-the-spot observations of those dramatic days and events, and what it meant to be there, seem rather mundane:


I was in East Berlin

The day the Wall came down,

When the deprived poor people

Of the GDR

Were given West Marks

To go across

To see the shops.

They came back bemused

(for forty years they'd lived a lie?)

Proudly bearing

Plastic bags:

I saw LPs, LPs, LPs, LPs.

They’d exchanged their cash

For Johnny Cash.

Back in Prague

Czechs rattled keys

To usher in

Free World CDs.


I was also in Prague, during the "German Exodus", Autumn 1989 (Radio Prague)

My 50-page official report on the GDR visit was rather more detailed and expansive. I visited universities and other institutions in Rostock (November 5), East Berlin (November 7), Potsdam (November 8), Leipzig, West and East Berlin again (November 9th), and I stayed in East Berlin from 9-12 November 1989. An amazing time! Some extracts here

The man who accidentally brought down the Berlin Wall - Guenter Schabowski died 1 November 2015. Ann Leslie discusses his speech which led to the demise of the Berlin Wall. BBC
Gary Keith Griffin

Havel elected President

If I were asked to chose one song for the celebrations, I would choose "Wind of Change" by East- '56

In English

In Hungarian

A great song:

“October 1956.

Blood and anguish in the street of Budapest……

Wind of change-

Where were you when Budapest was burning?

Out of range-

Stupidly, we thought the tide was turning….

June the sixteenth, 1989.

Half a million pay their respects in kind.

They remember, they remember well.”

Words and music P.Dorozsmai, Márkus József and D. Shiels

Hungarian lyrics

Heroes, David Bowie

Heroes, Live

A Great Day for Freedom, Pink Floyd

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