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Fall of the Berlin Wall

In the year 1989, there were dramatic events such as a massive flight of inhabitants of the GDR (East Germany) via Hungary and big demonstrations in Leipzig on Mondays. After weeks of discussion about a new travel law, the leader of East Berlin's communist party (SED), Gьnter Schabowski, said on November 9, 1989 at about 7 p.m. in somewhat unclear words that the border would be opened for “private trips abroad”. Soon thereafter, an onrush of East Berliners towards West Berlin began, and there were celebrations at the Brandenburg Gate and at the Kurfьrstendamm in West Berlin. On November 10, demolition work began with the aim of creating new border crossings. On November 12, a checkpoint at the Potsdamer Platz was opened, and on December 22, a checkpoint for pedestrians was opened at the Brandenburg Gate. So-called “wall woodpeckers” hammered pieces out of the wall, many of which were sold as souvenirs. A few larger segments were officially donated or sold.

On July 1, 1990, an economic, monetary and social union between East and West Germany was formed, and all restrictions concerning travels were dropped. The wall vanished almost completely until 1991; there are a few remainders at the Bernauer StraЯe, the NiederkirchnerstraЯe (near the building of the former Prussian parliament, now housing the parliament of Berlin) and as the 1.3 km long “East-Side-Gallery” near the railway station “Hauptbahnhof”.

On February 1997, a red line was painted on the pavement at the former “Checkpoint Charlie” to mark the course of the former Berlin Wall. This line reached a length of 20 km and shall be replaced by two rows of paving stones.

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