October 3, the Day of German Unity
Tomorrow Germany will be celebrating its grand national holiday, the Day of German Unity. A lot of years have passed since 1990, the year of German reunification. Those have been years of enthusiasm, of joy, but also of disappointment and bitterness.
When I arrived in Berlin in 1981 the Berlin Wall was a fact. Nobody could imagine that it would break down one day peacefully. In Berlin we lived with the wall. Everytime when we had to leave the city by car or by train we were confronted with East German border police. When we drove through East Germany we always had a funny feeling–maybe we did something wrong and did not know it? We were always glad when we arrived in West Germany safe and sound.
Younger people who were born after 1989 when the wall broke down don’t remember those absurd times. On one hand that’s good because for them German Unity has become a matter of course. On the other hand I think we can only appreciate what we have now if we know what we had in the past. The tiny band which you can see on the photo represents the Berlin Wall going around West Berlin. It was a huge complex with thick and high walls covered with barbed wire, illuminated in the night. Sometimes people ask me “wow, this was a small wall” and then I have to explain what it really was.
There will be a lof of festivities tomorrow in Berlin–bands will play on different stages, there will be stands offering beverages and food. Let’s celebrate–nothing to be said against it. But let’s remember also!