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Sunday, October 2, 2011

October 02

Tag der Deutschen Einheit
(Reunion Day)
Tomorrow is a day off for Germans in Germany. It is the day of the reunion of the two German countries DDR and BRD.  On October 03 1990 East Germany, Deutsche Demokratische Republik was absorbed into Bunderepublik Deutschland. Already during the fall of 1989 thousands of DDR residents fled the country by going through Hungary and Tchechoslovakia. Both countries allowed DDR residents to pass through the border into the west.
Soldiers watching from  Berlin Wall 
at Brandenburger Tor

DDR was a financially drained country. Russia had taken everything out of the country, leaving DDR with the scraps.

It was a time of major political change in Central Europe.

In 1991 I passed though the former DDR. At that time there was still a lot of decay on buildings and roads, and I saw a lot of Russian soldiers still being on the bases simply because Russia did not have enough accommodations for tens of thousands of their soldiers. In order to get the Russian troops out of the country, Germany spend a lot of money for construction projects in Russia.

When we heard the news that the Berlin wall was crumbling and that East-German border officials had opened the border to West Germany, we were sitting in our kitchen and it wasn't impossible that tears of joy found their way down the cheeks. To understand that emotion one must know that we were educated and grew up with the divided Germany. We were always told how bad life was for our Eastern neighbours. Grandpa and Grandma knew a couple in Dresden and they sendt Christmas packages to that couple every year. 
DDR-Border strip w. observation tower
Especially bad was it when another attempt of fleeing the DDR had ended in a rain of bullets fired from border officers from the border towers. How desperate for freedom must one be to risk being shot at. But there were also those who succeeded and got into the West. Some of them came across the sea in a canoe, others chose to travel through neighboring Eastblock countries and sneaked across a foreign border. Many had to leave close family behind. They couldn't even say Good Bye to their friends as one never knew whether these would keep the secret. 
Not the U.S.-Mexico Border
We can't imagine it, as we have always been free.

By 1989 the DDR-population was completely disillousioned and the pressure for change ended in a peaceful revolution and the end of the country.
The 3rd of October is a day where we think back on what has been and what happened.

East meets West in Berlin
East Germans cossing the border at

Hope you all had a great Sunday and thanks for being here.

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