November 9, 1989, the night of Berlin

It is barely 21 hours. Small groups form around crossing points between East Berlin and West Berlin. They came to see. inform themselves. The most daring call on the border guards. "Did you hear what Schabowski said?" Under pressure from the street, the government formed by the successor of Erich Honecker resigned, and in the late afternoon the spokesman of the SED gave a press conference during which he announced that all citizens of the GDR could get a simple stamp from the police on their blue notebooks to travel freely to the West. To a journalist who asked him when the measure was effective, Günter Schabowski hesitated a little before answering: "Right now."

They are twenty years old. They nudge each other and encourage each other. "The border is open! Let us go! " Stunned, the Grepos do not even reject them. They have informed their superiors and await orders while more and more curious people are mingling with the young men. Warned, the leaders of the SED panicked. Günter Schabowski made a mistake. What if not to assume and allow the crowd to cross the border? Visas will wait the next day. Do not we risk a passage in force? Worst a riot, the revolution?

On the other side of the Wall, the incredible news has already spread and Berliners gather to welcome their neighbors.

Georges de Brulon

At midnight, having received the green light, the border guards half-opened the gates. They check the identity papers, but soon overwhelmed by the number, the Grepos are no more than a look distracted by the documents they are presented.

Those who waved on the side of the frontier posts, seeing the press, hastily return for their blue notebook to the house and immediately return to swell the ranks of the Ostburger. On the other side of the Wall, the incredible news has already spread and Berliners gather to welcome their neighbors. Near Checkpoint Charlie, both cafes are already full. We drink, we congratulate each other. The West Germans are much more exuberant than those in the East. They drag their compatriots to the center of the city, the Ku'damm. A party is improvised along the flaming avenue. All restaurants, cafes are open. Lights. Blare. Concerts of alarms. Shouts. Songs. Laughs. Many tears too.

… On the side of the Brandenburg Gate, still closed, teenagers get bolder and climb the Wall …

George de Brulon

Champagne! The Ostburger have no West Marks, what does it matter! Berliners offer them food and drink. They do not know how to express their friendship to them. They would like this first night of freedom never to end, that the dawn does not rise, that the daily is abolished. Forever. To live only at the zenith of themselves. To applaud the fuzzy Trabants who proudly cross the border. To cover them with flowers.

On the side of Brandenburg Gate, still closed, teenagers get bolder and climb the Wall. They embrace each other, dance, make fools, fools. Nobody is chasing them. Is it possible?

On an official trip to Poland, Helmut Kohl was warned. The Chancellor is not surprised. After the big protest on 4 November in East Berlin, which had gathered more than a million people and the resignation of the government, he told US Ambassador Vernon Walters: "Die Birne ist geschält." ("The pear is peeled").

Without waiting, after talking on the phone with Mikhail Gorbachev who fears that the situation will get out of control, the Chancellor returns to Germany. The day after the crazy night, he is in the town hall square of Schöneberg with the reigning burgomaster, Walter Momper, and the former Chancellor Willy Brandt. The latter seems lost in his memories. Twenty-eight years have passed since Berliners demonstrated against the construction of the Wall. They are back on the street. To celebrate his fall.

Tomorrow? The old social democratic leader nods: "Es muss zusammenwachsen, was zusammengehört" ("What belongs to the same set must develop together"). Helmut Kohl opines. He already knows that the "Wiedervereinigung" ("Reunification") is working. The "Oxen" will grab it. To make them their flag. A banner.

The day the wall fell, Figaro Hors-Series on Figaro Store Figaro Hors-Series

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