Some thoughts on "The Day of German Unity"

Friday, October 3, 2014 at 9:30 PM UTC

On the 3rd of October we had a work-free day in Germany as we celebrated "The Day of German Unity" for the 24th time. Next year we have the quarter of a century - quite a long time. Time to reflect the past.

This day back in 1990 was the last act in a long process that started in the early days of 1989 when people of the former GDR (German Democratic Republic) began to protest agains their regime in public demonstrations on the streets all over the country, especially in Leipzig.

I eye-witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall as I lived close to it and of course followed all the news that was broadcasted in the months before. The fall of the Berlin Wall was a consequence of it all. The spirit of these days was so euphoric and so much solidarity was around everyone. You could even smell and taste the will of the people to gain freedom. I could tell a bunch of stories from these days. I remember me standing on the wall in front of the Brandenburg gate with ten thousands, drinking champagne and whiskey, laughing and shouting against the GDR's border guards to open the gates. And it was cold (-5 °C).

I lived in West-Berlin and so I was a citizen of the FRG (Federal Republic of Germany). I never had a strong relationship to the country around us (Berlin was an enclave of the FRG within the GDR) though we had (and still have) relatives living in the (former) states of the GDR. But to witness a historical moment is a special gift. You hardly get the chance to get this twice in your life.

In these days I never imagined that I will later live and work among the territories of the former GDR - Berlin was my place. Now that I am living here in Dresden, Saxony, now for about 10 years this day has a special meaning to me - even more than it has been before. I love this place and the people around and I'd never been here if things didn't worked out like that.

So all of you who are not too familiar with that historical events should take a quick look to get yourself informed properly. That peaceful "revolution" that was the ignition of the German Unity is a good example of how people can achieve something, get something and gain freedom and peace without using weapons but just their will and stay together. Of course it would have been a tragedy if the military of the GDR used their power to beat this rebellion down, so there was a whole bunch of luck involved also.

So we should be grateful for that peaceful world the most of us are living in and we shall not forget others who don't.

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