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5 - The fall

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  A united Berlin

The city was overcome by a joyful madness in which astonishment mingled with unspeakable joy : " I won’t believe it until I’m on the other side " (Ick glob es erst, wenn icke drüben bin), said one East Berlin woman. There were unforgettable scenes of rejoicing, with shouting, tears, applause, laughter and singing... East Germans were welcomed with flowers. Rockets went off to the popping of champagne corks and lighting of candles. The Wall was taken by storm by the crowds singing and dancing. Coffee and mulled wine were served to police officers on either side. The Vopos were heckled. At Checkpoint Charlie, every Trabant sounding its horn was hurrayed by the crowd and its occupants congratulated. The Kurfürstendamm was overrun by a great flood of people and traffic was prohibited. In the days that followed, an army of human " woodpeckers " hammered at the Wall, opening up bigger and bigger holes in it. The cellist Rostropovich came to play Bach at the foot of the Wall. Long queues formed at the crossing points and in front of banks, where the East Germans were given DM 100 as a welcome gift (Begrüssungsgeld), in front of shops, especially the big KaDeWe store, that temple of commerce and luxury.

In just three days, West Berlin took in 2 million East Germans.

On the evening of 10th November, in front of Schöneberg City Hall, a big demonstration brought together Chancellor Kohl, Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the honorary president of the SPD Willy Brandt, and the mayor Walter Momper, for whom " the German people are the happiest people on earth ".

 

Trabants crossing over
Trabants crossing over

Human "woodpeckers"
Human "woodpeckers"

Bigger and bigger holes
Bigger and bigger holes

L'attaque du Mur

 

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