30 years of freedom: "East Germany opens borders"
Young people stick flowers in remains of the Berlin Wall during a commemoration ceremony on Saturday. Photo: Markus Schreiber/AP
Germany, on Saturday, celebrated the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, as President Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed gratitude to Eastern European neighbors for encouraging a peaceful revolution, Reuters reports.
Why it matters: The wall separated the Communist-led East from the capitalist West in Berlin for about three decades. The wall "became a potent symbol of the Cold War ... followed a year later by the reunification of Germany in 1990," writes Reuters.
How it unfolded: Frieder Reimold of The Associated Press "settled in on Nov. 9, 1989, to watch a televised evening briefing by Guenter Schabowski, a member of the Communist country’s Politburo," AP recalls in a reminiscence.
- "About an hour into the rambling news conference, Schabowski mentioned that East Germany was lifting restrictions on travel across its border into West Germany."
- "Pressed on when the new regulations would take effect, he looked at his notes and stammered, 'As far as I know, this enters into force ... this is immediately, without delay.'"
The event was so impulsive that Reimold didn't realize the implications.
- Reimold, then the Berlin bureau chief of AP's German service, "typed out what has become his iconic alert: 'DDR oeffnet Grenzen' — 'East Germany opens borders.'"
- Germany's east still catching up 30 years after fall of Berlin Wall
- Read AP's story from 30 years ago today.