November 9, 2009

The Fall of the Berlin Wall


Today is 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. While twittering this morning I discovered that most people in the world don’t know what that meant for us as Germans or perhaps they just don’t care.

The separation of Germany not only divided the country but also split families and friends for 40 years. I was born in the GDR (East Germany), a country that no longer exists, and I’m happy that we now have a united Germany. It’s not like living in the GDR was bad in my personal case. We had everything we needed and I was really young (I was born in 1985) so I didn’t care what political system ruled but I know it was not as easy for all the people living in that country.

Like most others, my family had problems too. My grandpa lost track of his 2 brothers and his sister while he was on flight from
East Prussia to Germany. There were to many refugees and as you can see on this pictures it was a total chaos. When my grandpa reached Germany he not only had to bury his mother but he also had no idea where the rest of his family was. He was alone and had no other option than to make himself a new home. He met my grandma and they were happy together with kids and all that stuff. After many years a message from his brother reached him and he couldn’t believe that he still had a family. And yep, you guess right his brother lived in West Germany. He told my grandpa that he also found the third brother who also lived on the west side of the border. After a so long time my grandpa saw the possibility of seeing his siblings again but it was never that easy. Before the Berlin wall went down they were only able to see each other on two occasions. One time his brother was allowed to visit us and the other time my grandpa was allowed to go to a birthday celebration of his brother. As my grandpa tried to return home he stayed three days in “prison” because the authorities thought he was a spy (his brother had a job for the police of West Germany at that time).

To this day they have not been able to locate their sister but grandpa’s brother is still searching for her.

This is just one of the millions of family stories and I hope you can now see why this is such a big deal for us.

People were happy on this day but they were also afraid that this decision wouldn’t last. Luckily it did!

I’m happy that we no longer have that Wall dividing us and that we are ONE country again.

My greatest hope is that the wall in the heads of people will fall down too.

I hope you all have a wonderful day!


Mel (He Followed Me Home) November 9, 2009 at 5:19 PM  

Thanks for sharing such a touching story Susi!

Blodeuedd November 9, 2009 at 5:23 PM  

Wonderful post Susi. There really should be no walls. It makes one think

A Buckeye Girl Reads November 9, 2009 at 6:07 PM  

Thanks so much for sharing your story with us.

Smokinhotbooks November 9, 2009 at 6:26 PM  

This is one of the most moving post I've read of yours.

Christine November 9, 2009 at 6:31 PM  

This is a very lovely post, Susi. I hope your Opa and his brothers reunite with their sister someday soon. I actually remember the day the wall fell... I was 17 at the time and remember being very impressed by it all and also very hopeful for a better future for the people there.

Thanks for sharing your story. :)

Leontine November 9, 2009 at 6:55 PM  

Living in the Netherlands I heard these kind of stories on the news, of how certain people tried to sneak over the wall because like you said Susi, many loved ones were divided by that wall. Also the economy that was so very terrible and how many were on the brink of poverty.

I tend to forget that momentous moment where the Wall crumbled so thank you with such a touching story Susi!

pattepoilue November 9, 2009 at 7:10 PM  

I knew how horrible it has been for thousands of family that were divided but you never think it could happen to you.I didn't know you were born in East Germany.
I think we need to remember this it is important so that it never happen again. As i am talking there are celebrations on every channel of the French Tv, it's a shame the rest of the world doesn't care so much about it.
I hope Grandpa's brother will find his sister.

GutterBall November 9, 2009 at 7:19 PM  

Bless your heart, Susi. I was only twelve when the Wall came down, but I still remember being awed, even though I didn't understand it all. I had a brilliant history teacher at the time who tried to explain the divide and what it meant to families like yours, but we were just too young to truly understand. And I honestly think it's hard for anyone who didn't live in either East or West Germany to grasp how... momentous it was and still is.

Thank you for sharing this with people, like me, who won't ever fully understand, for putting a face on the story and making it not just a story. I'm so glad you have most of your family together and I pray you'll find the rest.

Sharon November 9, 2009 at 8:06 PM  

I was 18 years old when the wall came down and in my first semester of college. I spent many hours watching what was happening on TV. To this day I get goose bumps reliving those feelings of triumph and freedom won. Thank you for your touching story.

Lea November 9, 2009 at 8:24 PM  

Great post Susi!

Appreciate you reminding all of us of this and what it means to you.

I actually remembering viewing the events on television very well and your post brought back that memory!!

Thank you for sharing. :)


Katie Mack November 9, 2009 at 8:25 PM  

I was 10 years old when the wall came down, and to this day the feelings I felt that day are burned into me. I'm so happy that Germany is united again. Thanks for sharing your story.

Marissa November 9, 2009 at 8:36 PM  

What a touching story Susi, I do remember the fall of the wall very well, it was one of those moments that even now 20 years later you know exactly what you were doing back then... My grandparents had German friends who told us a similar story like yours, I hope for all the people out there, like your grandfather that they found their loved ones. Thanks for sharing your story.

Mandi November 9, 2009 at 11:15 PM  

Wow - 20 years ago..that made me eleven..but I remember. Living in the states and being eleven I didn't appreciate it like I should have..but what an amazing time. Thanks for sharing your heartfelt story :)

Patti November 10, 2009 at 2:17 AM  

Great post - thanks for sharing. I remember when I first learned that the wall was built and the stories about people on either side. Then, years later, I watched the wall coming down on television and knew this was something I would never forget. I can tell you, even over here in the US, it was huge.

SusiSunshine November 10, 2009 at 10:36 AM  

@Mel& @ABGR I was a little unsure at first but I thought someone should tell.

@Blodeuedd Totally agree!

@Smokinhotbooks thanks hon.

@Christine My grandpa died 10 years back but his brother is still searching. We had a hopeful breakthrough 2 month back but the woman wasn't their sister. Just someone with the same name and the same story. The sister was 2 or 3 years old as they lost her so the chance is relative low that she remembered her full name. But we won't give up.

@Leontine Also terrible for the people how had to guard the wall. Mostly young men who just wanted to go to university. Every man with that wish had to go for 3 years to the army.

@pattepoilue I hope so too.

SusiSunshine November 10, 2009 at 10:48 AM  

@GutterBall A good history teacher is a real blessing. We all should learn something out of our past. Thanks hon!

@Sharon Me too. Every time I see a reportage on TV I have these goosebumps and in the end I cry. It's a real heartbreaking scene to watch.

@Lea Exactly, it's important to remember so we don't make the same mistakes twice.

@Katie Mack I'm happy about that too, more than words can say!

@Marissa I hope that too!

@Mandi I think I can only remember cuz it touched me directly. The one real memory I have is being first time in a shopping mall. My parents told I can choose one Barbie. I stood there for 1 hour and when I choose one my parents were somewhere else and I thought I'm lost in West-Germany forever.

@Patti Nobody should forget that!

SusiSunshine November 10, 2009 at 10:49 AM  

Thanks to you all for your comments!
That means really much to me!

Sara November 11, 2009 at 2:20 AM  

That was a wonderful post, Susi. Thank you so much for sharing it. I was a teenager when the wall came down and can remember watching the news reports here in America because it was one of the first significant news events that we talked about in school afterward because it was an event that held such historical significance. Thank you again. :^)

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