Friday, October 24, 2014

Lest we forget: The fall of East Germany, 1989

I was in Leipzig, Germany this last week.  Twenty five years ago, in September and October 1989, Leipzig was the center of demonstrations that were pivotal in tearing down the Berlin Wall and to the downfall of the East German state, the DDR -- Deutsche Demokratische Republik.

In the last two months, in Leipzig and throughout Germany, there have been many events commemorating those events of 25 years ago.  How momentous those events were!  I was in East Germany in 1984 when it was still communist.  It was just amazing to me to see firsthand the lack of freedoms, both political and economic.  I was shocked by actually seeing police with dogs looking under the train with mirrors -- as we were leaving the East.  In 1990 I visited the Berlin Wall -- what was left of it -- and saw the beginning of freedom for the East.

Leipzig today is a tremendous city, beautiful and well on its way to rebuilding its reputation as a marketplace for Germany and indeed for all of Europe.

And look how quickly we forget.  I read the news pretty thoroughly, and I don't remember seeing a single story in the US press in the last two months about those events 25 years ago.

Here is a nice film clip from Die Deutsche Welle about the demonstrations in Leipzig in October, 1989 and the brave men who filmed the events from a church and then smuggled the tapes out to the West. internet back then, so the East Germans had effectively shut down any news about large scale demonstrations.

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