go to content
Community

November 9, 1989, A Day That Will Live In PEEPstery

Wir sind ein PEEP!

Posted on

The German Embassy participated in this year's Washington Post Peeps Contest. We created a diorama based on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and named it "Wir sind ein Peep! (We are one Peeple!)" The winners have been announced and, unfortunately, we are not among them Still, we think you'll agree that our diorama certainly made an impression. Despite our loss, we want to use this opportunity to give all of you lovely readers a history lesson about November 9, 1989. These harrowing scenes from our peep display will hopefully give you a glimpse into the fascinating chain of events that led to reunification. Enjoy!

Via Lauren Rogers

On November 9, 1989, the world changed. Not figuratively, and not only for a short while. The fall of the Berlin Wall was the first domino, and the ripples of the fall are still present in daily politics in Europe and beyond. What started as a simple press conference spiraled into the reunification of Germany and, along with protests in other Eastern European countries, the reunification of Europe.

Via Nicole Glass

Who gave the orders to tear down the wall? No, it wasn't Reagan, at least not on November 9. The honor belongs to East German government spokesperson Guenter Schabowski, who called an evening press conference that evening and announced that those who wished to travel outside of East Germany would no longer have to face the rigamaroll of visa control and heavy questioning. A journalist asked Schabowski when the new travel rules would go into effect and he, somewhat confused by the orders he was reading, famously replied, "uhhh, to my knowledge... right away."

Via Lauren Rogers

Thousands of people flooded the streets and crowded around the gates from East to West. The border guards were shocked. They had no orders on how to deal with the crowds, and no idea whether they should be allowed to cross or not. In the end, guards at the Bornholmer Street crossing opened the gates and unleashed a domino effect. By 11:30, the gates were open and the celebration had begun. Hilariously, although the East German border guards had no idea how to handle their own people crossing the border, they still followed standard protocol for any West Germans crossing the border.

Via Lauren Rogers

After the East German border was opened up 25 years ago, countless people made their way to the wall, equipped with pickaxes and sledgehammers. They tirelessly chipped away at the wall. Their motivations varied, but in general such a person was called a Mauerspecht. In German, Mauer means wall and Specht means woodpecker. A Mauerspecht, therefore, refers to a person who chips away at a wall (specifically, the Berlin Wall, since the word arose in this context and had never been used before). The closest English equivalent would be the word "stonepecker."

Via Nicole Glass

When the Berlin Wall first went up, entire streets were divided. People woke up to find neighbors, friends, and family members gone, and many didn't have the chance to see each other again until after the wall came down. West Germans, too, flooded the streets on November 9. They welcomed the newcomers and reunited with loved ones.

Via Lauren Rogers

Living in East Germany was a study in monotony; there was only one brand of detergent (Spree), only one brand of lotion (Florena) and even day-to-day objects, like toilet roll holders, were standardized for everyone. Going shopping could take hours because of lines and when a store was out of something, they were really out of it - no special orders allowed. Fruit not native to East Germany in particular was a hot comodity. Many East Germans only had bananas and oranges on holidays before the wall came down.

Via Lauren Rogers

Many people don't realize that the Brandenburg Gate was actually in East Berlin. It was so close to the wall that it was closed to visitors as soon as the wall went up in 1961. On November 9, 1989, the Brandenburg gate became center stage for the celebration.

Via Lauren Rogers

In some places, East Germans set up ladders and ropes to scale the wall. In other places, Mauerspechte on both sides tore and hacked at the wall until people could climb through.

Via Nicole Glass

During the protests that led up to the fall of the wall, which went on for weeks across East Germany, protesters would chant "Wir sind das Volk (We are the people)!" During the all-night celebration, the crowd modified the chant and it became, "Wir sind ein Volk" (We are one people). "We are one people" became the motto for the reunification.

Written and Designed by Lauren Rogers

Every. Tasty. Video. EVER. The new Tasty app is here!

Dismiss