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karbatal

28 years ago the Berlin Wall was no more...

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I still remember that day.  What felt almost impossible came true.  On 9 November 1989 the wall was no more!  Did you know it was some kind of a mistake?  That some politician meant other thing,  one journo explained it wrong and citizens went thinking they were going to let some human circulation? The soldier on guard had two options,  either let them through or shoot dozens of people... 

This was like a domino and now Europe is far different.  

I feel very European right now and blasting Beethoven's 9th symphony all day.  I wish that 90s eurofeeling was current again, when the EU was full of promises.  

I want to dream again!!!!  

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its sad you can still feel there's a division between the former east and the former west, some kind of distrust and a feeling of inequality. Politics after '90 failed completely to do something about this. 28 years in and still the same stigmatizing on both sides. Lets hope our children can overcome this one day.  

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One of the great symbolic and humanist moments of the 20th century. Do  millenials even know about it?

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53 minutes ago, karbatal said:

I still remember that day.  What felt almost impossible came true.  On 9 November 1989 the wall was no more!  Did you know it was some kind of a mistake?  That some politician meant other thing,  one journo explained it wrong and citizens went thinking they were going to let some human circulation? The soldier on guard had two options,  either let them through or shoot dozens of people... 

This was like a domino and now Europe is far different.  

I feel very European right now and blasting Beethoven's 9th symphony all day.  I wish that 90s eurofeeling was current again, when the EU was full of promises.  

I want to dream again!!!!  

 

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1 hour ago, Lolo said:

its sad you can still feel there's a division between the former east and the former west, some kind of distrust and a feeling of inequality. Politics after '90 failed completely to do something about this. 28 years in and still the same stigmatizing on both sides. Lets hope our children can overcome this one day.  

On the contrary.  You can't erase 40 years of history that fast.  Of course there's still that feeling.  Of course there's nostalgia on both parts.  But to be fair things have gone smoother than expected!  

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1 hour ago, karbatal said:

On the contrary.  You can't erase 40 years of history that fast.  Of course there's still that feeling.  Of course there's nostalgia on both parts.  But to be fair things have gone smoother than expected!  

Well the wall 'only' lasted 28 years, so we have just as much time together as there was with the Iron Curtain. And I'm not saying it couldn't have been worse but I'm a bit fed up with how they try to sell it as this huge success, when it isn't really. It's VERY telling that with each anniversary we get the story of the Fall of the Wall and everything that happened during the Cold War, over and over again,  but never any discussion about what actually happened and how things developed after Oktober 1990. As if our recent history hasn't anything to do with it. 

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Went to Berlin several years ago & it was so interesting to see the big differences between the eastern & western part of the city. Guess the division of city still has real lingering effects today. It’s such an eccentric & fascinating place even with the horrors of not that long ago. Was honestly pretty disturbed after visiting Sachsenhausen concentration camp which was very close to the city. Would still recommend experiencing it.

Anyway, best of luck to Germany & the rest of EU! The next ten years or so should be very interesting to say the least....

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Was such a symbol of freedom and dominated the news.  I have always seen it as one of the biggest news stories in my lifetime.  I remember our lovely German neighbour talking about it with us and the tears rolling down his face.  He never thought he would see that day. 

Talking to people from other countries about their history and own personal experiences is one of the most educational and emotional conversations to have.  

 

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While everyone will agree that this was a very exciting and emotional moment in history and I still get goosebumps watching what happened back in the day because I can personally relate to the events. I'm old enough to remember what happened in the weeks before the Fall of the Wall and in the months until the German re-unification. Let me just say that a lot of re-writing history has taken place ever since. Well, much of it already started right after the peaceful revolution. There are a lot of false assumptions that are historically incorrect. Especially when history is told by foreigners. I remember watching a documentary when Ronald Reagan died and historians spoke about his legacy. There were quite a few that claimed it was Reagans speech at Brandenburg Gate where he said "Mr Gorbachev, ... tear down this wall" that was responsible for the fall of the wall. This is just as wrong as claiming it was David Hasselhoff singing "looking for freedom" (okay, he was drunk when he made that claim). First of all, the former USSR had nothing to do with the Berlin Wall, the wall was not build by the Soviets and it was not secured by the Soviet army. Believe me, many people in the former GDR found those words highly disrespectful and despite the fact that many people were critical of the political situation there was some kind of patriotism as well and if there comes an American president that basically considers your country a Soviet colony, that didn't go over well. Another thing a lot of people do not remember is that the peaceful revolution happened because people wanted to rebuild the political system of the former GDR. This is what those Monday demonstrations in Leipzig and later all over the country were about. It all culminated in that huge demonstration on the 4th of November 1989 at Berlin Alexanderplatz with approx. 1 million people. No one was there to talk about a German re-unification. Then the unthinkable happened on the 09th when Schabowsky made that "mistake" declaring that the new travel regulations would go into effect immediately. The thing is, those regulations were put together so quickly, he had no real idea what he was talking about considering those regulations were meant to deal with the expected emigration of hundreds of thousands of GDR citizens. It was the staff member who wrote that legislation who put a paragraph about normal travels into that thing. It is highly questionable that those in power wanted to address that particular issue at that point of time. Everyone was really excited for a few weeks, all the political changes and everyone really seemed to be interested and involved in the process. It really was a feeling that people can achieve change. And while there were different political ideas about how the GDR should be reformed, it was done in a very respectful way. And then it happened what always happens. Money talks. And the whole movement was basically hi-jacked by the FRG parties, first and foremost the CDU under Helmut Kohl. They went to Dresden, the only place in the GDR, people were not able receive any western television channels because of its geographical location. It was called "valley of the clueless" for that very reason. People in Berlin or in other places knew from those TV channels that not everything in the West is golden. That there are social problems, unemployment, poverty. People in Dresden got the same information from the proganda news in the East. Although it was the truth, people in Dresden considered it a lie. Does all of that sound familiar and very recent? Now add the financial situation of the GDR, which was basically broke. Of course, the re-unification was the easiest way to go. The term "re-unification" is kinda questionable because  it was basically an annexion or to be correct in legal terms the GDR "declared accession to the FRG". While there were negotiations, those were never really negotiations between equal partners. This is basically the reason why many East Germans back then felt highly disrespected. Still feel. Many felt that their achievements were declared null and void and their life was worthless. Very unfair considering the economical situation in the Soviet occupied sector after the war. West Germany had the Marshall plan. East Germany had to deal with the fact that almost everything was destroyed and everything that was not destroyed was send to the USSR. Factories, rail roads etc. Everything had to be rebuild out of nothing. You can add  a certain lack of interest from the West Germans for their brothers and sisters in the East. They are statistics that show that even today, much more East Germans have visited the former Western part of Germany than West Germans have visited the former Eastern part. Furthermore, there were quite a few things the GDR was arguably more progressive than the FRG. Especially when it comes to social issues and education. Of course those were ignored completely. It was very much a winner mentality from the western side. The thing is, for many East Germans the personal living conditions after the re-unification became worse. Many lost their jobs because the companies they worked at had to close because they  were not competitive enough (or too competitive, yes that happened too, there were some innovative companies and they were pushed out of the market by their west german competition, huge companies). This whole chapter how the assets of the GDR were liquidated by the Treuhand is the true scandal. Panama Papers? Paradise Papers? You find it scandalous what was revealed? You wont believe the things that went down at the Treuhand. Assets worth billions, especially in the banking and real estate sector were sold ridiculously low amounts. And all of this legally. There was even a law or something that granted the staff members an exemption from liability. Legalized corruption if you will. The Treuhand actually had two jobs. They were supposed to sell the assets and they were supposed to create possibilities for Western companies to settle down in the former GDR, built factories, produce stuff. In return they would receive a lot of subsidies. Of course, many companies were more interested in those subsidies than anything else. And  other companies were not interested at all. For them the former GDR was just another market where they could get rid of their over-production. So many things went wrong back then, many ugly things happened. Don't look at me wrong, for those people who had a job after the re-unification, it was certainly better than before because you were able to enjoy all the possibilities. Consuming and most of all travelling around the world. But those who were left behind, without a job, unable to travel etc, they were the losers and see many things differently. What are all those freedoms worth if you can't afford them?

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3 hours ago, Nick said:

Went to Berlin several years ago & it was so interesting to see the big differences between the eastern & western part of the city. Guess the division of city still has real lingering effects today. It’s such an eccentric & fascinating place even with the horrors of not that long ago. Was honestly pretty disturbed after visiting Sachsenhausen concentration camp which was very close to the city. Would still recommend experiencing it.

Anyway, best of luck to Germany & the rest of EU! The next ten years or so should be very interesting to say the least....

As a Berliner I hardly feel that there is any division left. It's all very mixed by now. At least in all the city centre districts of Berlin. Also you have so much influx nationally and internationally. A little bit politically, the West is a little bit more conservative whereas the East is a little more socialist. Overall Berlin is and has always been a proletarian city with the social democrats running the city (one of the reasons Hitler hated Berlin). Anyway. Are there places you hardly go? Sure. But this has more to do with the fact that Berlin is such a huge city and it is sometimes quite time consuming to get from A to B despite the fact that Berlin has a great public transport system. You create your life around the place where you live and as in any other metropolis you don't really need to leave this area/district/borough except for work maybe. Let's compare that to NYC. How often do people living in the Bronx go to Queens or Brooklyn?

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Love reading the posts from our members in Germany @Lolo and @Raider of the lost Ark   Always interesting to read the views of people that live in the country we are discussing. 

Such an important topic and historic event. 

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8 hours ago, Raider of the lost Ark said:

While everyone will agree that this was a very exciting and emotional moment in history and I still get goosebumps watching what happened back in the day because I can personally relate to the events. I'm old enough to remember what happened in the weeks before the Fall of the Wall and in the months until the German re-unification. Let me just say that a lot of re-writing history has taken place ever since. Well, much of it already started right after the peaceful revolution. There are a lot of false assumptions that are historically incorrect. Especially when history is told by foreigners. I remember watching a documentary when Ronald Reagan died and historians spoke about his legacy. There were quite a few that claimed it was Reagans speech at Brandenburg Gate where he said "Mr Gorbachev, ... tear down this wall" that was responsible for the fall of the wall. This is just as wrong as claiming it was David Hasselhoff singing "looking for freedom" (okay, he was drunk when he made that claim). First of all, the former USSR had nothing to do with the Berlin Wall, the wall was not build by the Soviets and it was not secured by the Soviet army. Believe me, many people in the former GDR found those words highly disrespectful and despite the fact that many people were critical of the political situation there was some kind of patriotism as well and if there comes an American president that basically considers your country a Soviet colony, that didn't go over well. Another thing a lot of people do not remember is that the peaceful revolution happened because people wanted to rebuild the political system of the former GDR. This is what those Monday demonstrations in Leipzig and later all over the country were about. It all culminated in that huge demonstration on the 4th of November 1989 at Berlin Alexanderplatz with approx. 1 million people. No one was there to talk about a German re-unification. Then the unthinkable happened on the 09th when Schabowsky made that "mistake" declaring that the new travel regulations would go into effect immediately. The thing is, those regulations were put together so quickly, he had no real idea what he was talking about considering those regulations were meant to deal with the expected emigration of hundreds of thousands of GDR citizens. It was the staff member who wrote that legislation who put a paragraph about normal travels into that thing. It is highly questionable that those in power wanted to address that particular issue at that point of time. Everyone was really excited for a few weeks, all the political changes and everyone really seemed to be interested and involved in the process. It really was a feeling that people can achieve change. And while there were different political ideas about how the GDR should be reformed, it was done in a very respectful way. And then it happened what always happens. Money talks. And the whole movement was basically hi-jacked by the FRG parties, first and foremost the CDU under Helmut Kohl. They went to Dresden, the only place in the GDR, people were not able receive any western television channels because of its geographical location. It was called "valley of the clueless" for that very reason. People in Berlin or in other places knew from those TV channels that not everything in the West is golden. That there are social problems, unemployment, poverty. People in Dresden got the same information from the proganda news in the East. Although it was the truth, people in Dresden considered it a lie. Does all of that sound familiar and very recent? Now add the financial situation of the GDR, which was basically broke. Of course, the re-unification was the easiest way to go. The term "re-unification" is kinda questionable because  it was basically an annexion or to be correct in legal terms the GDR "declared accession to the FRG". While there were negotiations, those were never really negotiations between equal partners. This is basically the reason why many East Germans back then felt highly disrespected. Still feel. Many felt that their achievements were declared null and void and their life was worthless. Very unfair considering the economical situation in the Soviet occupied sector after the war. West Germany had the Marshall plan. East Germany had to deal with the fact that almost everything was destroyed and everything that was not destroyed was send to the USSR. Factories, rail roads etc. Everything had to be rebuild out of nothing. You can add  a certain lack of interest from the West Germans for their brothers and sisters in the East. They are statistics that show that even today, much more East Germans have visited the former Western part of Germany than West Germans have visited the former Eastern part. Furthermore, there were quite a few things the GDR was arguably more progressive than the FRG. Especially when it comes to social issues and education. Of course those were ignored completely. It was very much a winner mentality from the western side. The thing is, for many East Germans the personal living conditions after the re-unification became worse. Many lost their jobs because the companies they worked at had to close because they  were not competitive enough (or too competitive, yes that happened too, there were some innovative companies and they were pushed out of the market by their west german competition, huge companies). This whole chapter how the assets of the GDR were liquidated by the Treuhand is the true scandal. Panama Papers? Paradise Papers? You find it scandalous what was revealed? You wont believe the things that went down at the Treuhand. Assets worth billions, especially in the banking and real estate sector were sold ridiculously low amounts. And all of this legally. There was even a law or something that granted the staff members an exemption from liability. Legalized corruption if you will. The Treuhand actually had two jobs. They were supposed to sell the assets and they were supposed to create possibilities for Western companies to settle down in the former GDR, built factories, produce stuff. In return they would receive a lot of subsidies. Of course, many companies were more interested in those subsidies than anything else. And  other companies were not interested at all. For them the former GDR was just another market where they could get rid of their over-production. So many things went wrong back then, many ugly things happened. Don't look at me wrong, for those people who had a job after the re-unification, it was certainly better than before because you were able to enjoy all the possibilities. Consuming and most of all travelling around the world. But those who were left behind, without a job, unable to travel etc, they were the losers and see many things differently. What are all those freedoms worth if you can't afford them?

Wow, thank you so much for this incredible explanation. As Jan says, one of the best thing about Madonnanation is to know things first hand from so many different countries! 

I lived in Leipzig for one year in 1997-1998. That meant few years after the "reunification" and what you says was felt there. The city was buzzing with new buildings and reconstruction, those big plans for the University still weren't made but the project was already a reality. Everything looked like one of those Tina Cousins videos, very modern and trendy. I made a friend there, Thilo, and he told me one day that he missed "the old days". I asked "what do you mean?", you know I was naive and thought that being together again and all that was enough. And he told me "we have lost so much in such a little time. We had a community here, we were people. Now this new individualism is so sad". He was a compulsive buyer, he was always bying colognes, cds, books, that he never even opened! He was a bit of a sad guy. But what he told me was felt in the city, I came from a country where we use to smile much more, but then we smiled even more because Spain was running really good. And people were really gloomy. 

Of course that's what I felt in only one year, which amounts to almost nothing. I wonder how is the city nowadays, surely it looks like some kind of Black Mirror steel and glass scenary :lol:

To be fair, many things that you say in your post can be translated to many EU post-communism countries. Even though they got rid from a dictature, they are not good either. If it's any consolation to you, East Germany is one of the very few story of success after the URSS fell. Believe me that any citizen from Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary, would be happy to have had the big amount of money poured there and the big support from all EU funds. Because they feel nowadays exactly the same (the lack fo respect, the feeling that all that they worked for nowadays seem to amount to nothing, the feeling that capitalism is 'ok' but what they had, which had many good things, is 'bad', etc, etc), but also a difficult social and economic situation. For example, my husband's city is Dobrich, in Bulgaria. They had up to one hundred factories that worked really well, they made shoes,clothes and all kind of things that not only were sold in Bulgaria, but in the Balkans and even Russia. They ALL closed down after communism. They were sold so cheap! You are right about the scandal of those times of perfect factories being sold cheap to the same people. Nowadays in Dobrich there is not even one factory there. All young people leave the city or the country and many streets are not even paved nowadays. It's a dying city. And it was such boyant! 

But now those East countries have very low pensions, a demographic catastrophe, suffered from the mafias in the 90s... And not because they are worse than Germans, but because they had zero support from anybody and were surrounded by vultures. So East Germany, at least in terms of economy and social rights, was VERY, VERY LUCKY. Those feelings from the population, though, are normal. Because many things were lost. 

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Thank you @Raider of the lost Ark fir taking the time and explaining what I couldn't , not only because of language barrier. I'm very emotional about what happened around the fall of the wall, I remember it as a stressful time, I was merely a teenager in the early nineties with both parents suddenly struggling to survive... I have no fond memories of that time. The golddigging mentality, the sudden ruthlessness. I particularly remember the utter trash they shoved down our throats in the new opened Department stores, all the hideous stuff they couldn't sell in the west, ugly and cheap looking things. And the worst, people bought it. I remember feeling so ashamed for years. It all started to settle around '94 or '95 for me. That's when it began to feel normal. 

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to me personally it marked also the end for one of the greatest countries ever, my precious Yugoslavia :( and no I'm not a nationalist but I have very fond memories of that time unfortunately everything was going downhill even then, it was just an illusion in the 80s with Croats fighting Serbs, Serbs fighting Croats, all those wars were horrible, Croatia, Bosnia then Kosovo war

tumblr_oat50owQwS1u0d9r9o1_250.gif

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18 hours ago, Raider of the lost Ark said:

As a Berliner I hardly feel that there is any division left. It's all very mixed by now. At least in all the city centre districts of Berlin. Also you have so much influx nationally and internationally. A little bit politically, the West is a little bit more conservative whereas the East is a little more socialist. Overall Berlin is and has always been a proletarian city with the social democrats running the city (one of the reasons Hitler hated Berlin). Anyway. Are there places you hardly go? Sure. But this has more to do with the fact that Berlin is such a huge city and it is sometimes quite time consuming to get from A to B despite the fact that Berlin has a great public transport system. You create your life around the place where you live and as in any other metropolis you don't really need to leave this area/district/borough except for work maybe. Let's compare that to NYC. How often do people living in the Bronx go to Queens or Brooklyn?

Thanks for your points! My observation was that I noticed some idifferences but I’m a just a tourist trying to see & do so much within less than a week. I have no idea what’s it like to actually live there, know the language & people, especially with so much changing & diversity.

Would love to go back in a couple of years. I use to fantasize about moving there. Lol

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According to what my relatives told me, the fall of the Berlin Wall was by far the most influential and powerful political event of their life. And there was a feeling of unity and power that has never been there before or after. When I was a little kid in the nineties (I was born in 1991 and my family lived in former East Germany), I never understood what all this was about. And later when I knew what happened I still didnt really understand why so many years later, people still have walls in their heads and some still said things like "my neighbour spent their holidays in West Germany", when we were already in the 2000s.

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Well it's not casual when the * put Moses and the jews wandering the desert for 40 years.  You need the former generation or even more to die for some situations to be accepted and forgotten.  The wall was built 22 years but the country was parted in two after WWII,  so many people were born already in a new country, either West or East.  Those things will be with them forever. 

The same happens in Spain with the dictature.

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20 hours ago, freddykrueger86 said:

Who else is based in Berlin? We should meet!

I'd be up for that! I think there are actually quite a lot of Berliners in this forum :thumbsup:

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Thank you all for your insight and explanations. Having lived in Europe only for the last decade there are many things where I have to go with the simplistic information available in text books so it's very enriching to read your perspective.

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7 hours ago, karbatal said:

The same happens in Spain with the dictature.

Yeah. Ask the separatists in Catalonia. The whole #butFranco logic seems like reaching 40years+ after the fact but it's so ingrained it's become their truth.

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17 minutes ago, Je5u5 said:

Thank you all for your insight and explanations. Having lived in Europe only for the last decade there are many things where I have to go with the simplistic information available in text books so it's very enriching to read your perspective.

It's one of the best things of Madonnanation. 

Some day you should open a thread about Venezuela because,  frankly,  there's a lot of misinformation and ignorance about it.  And the EU just gave their Sakharov Freedom Award to the opposition.  And the opposition in Venezuela has been so praised and maligned by political parties in Spain that I'm lost. 

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Just now, karbatal said:

It's one of the best things of Madonnanation. 

Some day you should open a thread about Venezuela because,  frankly,  there's a lot of misinformation and ignorance about it.  And the EU just gave their Sakharov Freedom Award to the opposition.  And the opposition in Venezuela has been so praised and maligned by political parties in Spain that I'm lost. 

yes.

 

 

and about Berlin´s wall, i was too young to understand anything.I remember the images, I remember my father talking to a friend about it.They asked me if we talk about that between our friends, and no, we were more interested in Tim Burton´s Batman being in the theatres that week!! sad but true!!:wacko:

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1 hour ago, promise to try said:

yes.

 

 

and about Berlin´s wall, i was too young to understand anything.I remember the images, I remember my father talking to a friend about it.They asked me if we talk about that between our friends, and no, we were more interested in Tim Burton´s Batman being in the theatres that week!! sad but true!!:wacko:

Hahaha 

I remember the concert they did and Cyndi Lauper butchered Pink Floyds song The Wall. 

But I was 14 already.  I remember I was so thrilled at the idea of a bigger Europe! 

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