Saturday, 9th November 2019
Tens of thousands of people gathered at the Brandenburg Gate for the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Despite gray skies and rather uncomfortable weather, the visitors crowded around the stage, which had been built directly next to the Brandenburg Gate. The number of guests was limited according to organizers for security reasons to 100,000.
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier described in an exclusive interview with the RTL / n-tv editorial board the 9th of November 1989 as "a moment of glory in a German history of democracy that is not rich enough for star hours." It's a day he'll never forget. Although the event had begun, it was already felt that developed a dynamic that was barely to capture, the 9th November had been "the unexpected". Steinmeier reminds once again of the courage of the protesters who influenced the development of the GDR in October 1989: "We should not underestimate the risk people took at that time."
In addition, the President also looks to the future: "I wish so much that we are saving something of this euphoria, of this confidence, of this self-confidence of the days of November 1989 in our time," Steinmeier told RTL / n-tv Editorial staff. For him it was important to tell the stories of that time, whether from the East or West perspective, over and over again: "This can help to actually feel the inner unity that we have more or less achieved economically."
"People want to be taken seriously"
From the memory of his time as a politician in Brandenburg, in which he got to know many people in the East in a difficult transitional phase, he still takes a lot with him today: "In East Germany I always felt a certain patience and an expectation of what that meant Explaining political decisions. " Steinmeier has learned: "People simply want to be taken seriously and that they also need a presence from politicians." Therefore, he puts on "going in", even out in the country, because "nothing is explained by itself."
During his speech at the Brandenburg Gate, he appealed to the Germans to tear down newly created walls in society since 1989. "The Great Wall, this inhuman structure that has claimed so many victims, no longer stands." This wall is gone, one for all times, "he said. "But across our land new walls have been built, walls of frustration, walls of rage and hatred, walls of speechlessness and alienation, walls that are invisible but still divide, walls that stand in the way of our cohesion."
The Berlin Wall had established the GDR unrighteous regime with the head of the SED and State Council Chairman Walter Ulbricht at the top. "But we have built the new walls in our country, and only ourselves can tear them down," Steinmeier said. "So we do not watch, we do not complain about it: Let's break down those walls!" Everyone in the country could do something for it, said the Federal President. Cohesion can not be prescribed from above.
Stage show begins with DDR classic
The stage show has begun with a classic of East German rock music. Dirk Michaelis presented in front of tens of thousands of listeners around the Berlin landmark his rock ballad "When I left". The singer, born in Chemnitz in the year of the Wall, and former frontman of the rock band Karussell, had composed the song as a teenager and published it in 1987.
In the last few months of the GDR, the line "Nothing is infinite, you can see it," many on the political developments in the country and the thousands of GDR citizens who turned their backs and went to the West. Since then the song has been considered a "turning hymn". On the program of the stage show are numerous other artists in the evening, including the singer Anna Loos. The Staatskapelle Berlin under the baton of Daniel Barenboim played Ludwig van Beethoven's "Fate Symphony".