English Version Part 7: My Diary from Autumn 1989 – My First Time in the WEST – 13th Nov.1989

“It was so unbelievable, you pass through it as if yesterday, there had not been a death field with mines, electric barbed wires and and and, everybody passed by, just like that, it was totally normal. The reception war equally indescribable. Total strangers hugged each other. Westberliners clapped, everybody laughed and cried. Never in my life I will forget this.”
This is the English Version, the German version is HERE.
My Diary notes of 13th November 1989
This is part 7 of my series “My diary – 25 years ago – Autumn 1989”. Earlier parts are linked at the end of this post, as well as documents, old fotographs, and my book “Mauern einreißen!” (“Tearing down walls” LINK). However, except for the diary parts, all the other pages are in German… I took out some parts which are private, you will recognise this at “(…)”, explanations come in brackets with my initials: “(ADB: explanation)” or (= explanation). More detailed explanations will be found in footnotes (numbers in brackets) at the end of this post.

***

Today is the 13th Nov 89, 11:15, Main Station on Monday
I still don’t get it, one hour ago I sat down in the S-Bahn Charlottenburg…coming from Riki (1) where I lived a weekend. Such a full one, crazy, indescribable, God, give me words to express the extent of emotions – impossible. Trying?

So eine Zählkarte hatte ich noch für den Grenzübertritt am 11.11.1989 ausfüllen müssen, sehen wollte sie aber dann doch keiner mehr an der Grenze...

Such a “Counting Card” I had to fill in to cross the border at 11th Nov. 89, however, nobody ever wanted to see it at the actual border

After the sadness on Thursday, washing on Friday morning (2), U. comes into the bath and is beaming – well, what are you saying to our victory? – I did’t know anything, then he talks about the Wall-atrophy… I run to the radio and hear it myself, everybody is allowed to go to the West, just like they want. Unfathomable. With G. I ran immediately to the Police and in 1 hour, we had our Visa. (3) This day was over. Not a bit Design done. Breakfast celebrated with G., one little Liquor was drunken. Called home and sent the parents to the police. Skipped History of Art (-lesson) and drove home. Riki had already gone home. Saturday morning by car off to the new border crossing Bernauerstrasse – Brunnenstrasse, the father pushed his way through, we stood 1 hour, the queue was endless, but it moved forward all the time. Just holding your ID card up. Around us, broken walls, construction workers, border personnel. I was beaming at one of them – they too are happy now, in spite of the stress.
zaehlkarte-RS

On top of the Wall sat West-Berliner youngsters, clapping their hands and waving, I was tearing up too. Everywhere those Westberliners, laughing, waving, uncountable TV teams (maybe M. saw me?). A woman was giving away Nimm-2 sweets, another one roses, white and red, Kaiser (=super market chain) distributed Kaiser-Coffee and chocolate – we looked for a bus and then drove by S-Bahn to Riki. We arrived at lunch time. What a turmoil, so many people. Even the buses are much nicer, the Wall is so colourful, “sauer macht lustig, Mauer macht frustig” (=literally translated: “sour makes you happy, wall frustrates you”), funny slogans everywhere. Riki lives in front of the Aztec (=jewellery shop), in the Hektorstreet, close to the Ku’damm, very close. A nice old buildings corner, 4th floor, giant windows (in the entire quarter), view over the roof tops, beautiful. A bright, uncomplicated appartment, adorable. Amazing pictures, 2 cats…nice. Son Emil with long hair, 20 years old, a to-be-percussionist. I had a room just for me. My parents went back home at night. Before, we (me on my own) strolled the Ku’damm up and down. I met Simone G. (=class mate) in the Ku-eck in an Indian shop – the world is small (…) Müncheberg (=my home and school town) is everywhere.

Genau an dieser Stelle - direkt hinter dem Brandenburger Tor - war ich mit meiner Mutter auf die Mauer geklettert. Ein unvergesslicher Moment in einer euphorischen Menge. Magie eines Augenblicks. Foto: Wikipedia Commons, Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Thefalloftheberlinwall1989.JPG, Autor unbekannt, Reproduktion: Lear 21 von einer Fotodokumentationswand des Berliner Senats

Right at this place – directly behind the Brandenburg Gate – I stood with my mother on top of the Wall. An unforgettable moment in an europhoric mass of people. A magical moment. Pic: Wikipedia Commons, Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Thefalloftheberlinwall1989.JPG, Author unknown, Reproduction: Lear 21 from a public foto documentary wall of the Berlin Senate

At 6pm we met at Riki’s place and had dinner at an Italian, at the street which is the prolongation of the Strasse des 17. Juni. The waiters were running, with red aprons, the food was heaven, the Chianti rosso was great and quite strong. The father had calamari (in rings), Riki and my mother had a giant pasta plate with fillings, mushrooms and sauces. I had a pizza calzone with mushrooms, cheese and ham. Starters were fennel, filled pepper, olives, pickled trout (fantastic), artichokes, somehow treated tomatoe (unidentifiable) (4), filled mushrooms, heavenly. I thought I would burst, it felt pity for every bit leftover. We ate everybody from everything, the pasta was the best of all. The waiters whizzed and were beaming. Once we had been replaced at another table, it was so busy there. Riki invited us. Unforgettable everything. Viva la vita, viva l’amore – the waiter when I said something about moving to another table: “that brings life into the house”, so amazing, everything.
When we were leaving, the restaurant owner stopped us at the exit, whether we would not want an amaretto or the likes as a good-bye drink – we were easily convinced, lead to the back of the restaurant and the owner treated everyone of us to a drink, a sambucco for me (anis, lighted, fine and sweet), amaretto for the father, champaign for the mother. The boss was thrilled to have us, he had only slept 2 hours, went at 3am after work to the Wall to watch (5). Everything was so funny. I look forward to the Italian G. (=pen friend, he had invited me).
Time was flying. The parents went home, I was studying maps with Riki. M. lives north of New York, not too far. Boston is not far neither. Riki’s son will soon be half a year in Hollywood, at school, thats in California. I look so much forward to travelling! Padua (= where my pen friend lived) is very close to Venice – a dream! In Amsterdam, I even found the Helmerstraat of Wiel (=dutch pen friend), a long street. Amsterdam makes a decent impression. I slept like an angel and only dreamt of Italians, waiters who were running in the courtyard, serving. (…) I wanted to get to Leipzig already yesterday. I will just come today, hopefully they (=my friends) are still there. I will still make it to the demo (=THE mondays demo). Tonight we want to celebrate. (…). I will now go to Schoeneweide, surely have some more time there.

***

(1) This is the westberliner documentary film maker Riki Kalbe, a friend of my mother, with whom we enjoyed a close friendship. She documented the changes around the Potsdamer Platz after the Fall of the Wall with fotographs. Riki was affectionate and had a great sense of humour, but she died in 2002 far too early, after already her son Emil, a talented musician, had died at age 30. My memories of the Fall of the Wall in 1989 will forever be connected with Riki and her contagious laughter, her hospitality and with inner pictures e.g. of fotographs she had taken and turned into post cards, or maps which hang at her walls in her appartment, or of the small kitchen, in which beautiful ceramics piled up and where we enjoyed turkish coffee and red wine.

Unser alter Waschraum im Wohnheim der Fachschule für Angewandte Kunst in Ober-Schlema/Erzgebirge

Our old wash room at the dormitory of the Art School in Ober-Schlema/Erzgebirge

(2) There was a common wash room in our student dormitory, a wooden barack. I meant this – unisex – wash room in my diary. It was, however, no more the old wash room, which you see at the picture above, but a new one, with real tiles at the walls and tiled shower cabins, not a steel-sheet cabin like the one we had in my earlier study years (where you see a fellow student stepping out).
(3) In the news they said that you need a stamp from the police, hence we went to the registration office, which belonged to the Police to get this type of visa. We also got a “Counting Card”, which I filled in but which nobody ever wanted to see when I passed the border to the West.
(4)  My very first italian meal….even until today the most delicious italian food I ever tasted. Maybe also because of the circumstances, but it really was heavenly. I described the food with so much detail, because none of them were available in East Germany. No Calamary, no filled mushrooms. And I had no idea how dried tomatoes look, thats why I described them as “unidentifiable”.
(5)  Only at our leaving the restaurant owner noticed that we had been coming from the East and had had our first western meal. Thats why he invited us in again, to celebrate together. It was a magic moment of joint happiness.

***

This is my last post of the series “my diary 25 years ago”, as a bonus, below a postcard,which I wrote a few days after the Fall of the Wall to a friend in West Germany. She gave it back to me years later with some other letters from this time, as a memory, and I am very thankful she did!

Dear Elisabeth,               – 19th Nov.1989, Schlema
before I sneak into my bed, some few lines. Firstly, many thanks for the Havel-article, maybe nowadays nothing is disappearing anymore? You surely heard what happens here at our side, its coming thick and fast. The euphoria was big. Already at the 10th of November (=it was actually the 11th) we sat in the car to be witnesses in Berlin of the unimaginable to be the truth. Funnily, I wandered through the former Wall, freshly broken through, at exactly 11:11 o’clock. I cannot describe emotions, absolutely impossible. Like many others I fought back my tears.

It was so unbelievable, you pass through it as if yesterday, there had not been a death field with mines, electric barbed wires and and and, everybody passed by, just like that, it was totally normal. The reception war equally indescribable. Total strangers hugged each other. Westberliners clapped, everybody laughed and cried. Never in my life I will forget this. Hopefully, it was not too early, I fear an economic catastrophe. In W-Berlin they have already exchange rates of 1:20, what will happen to our GDR-Mark? Hopefully we get over the winter. Apropos, you invited me so often, I would really like to come. I only have time off in December, than again in summer. Would it be possible between 27th and 30th Dec.? If you already have visitors or prefer to be on your own at this time of the year, I of course understand. I would drive in the night and arrive in the morning in FFM. It would be so nice. All the best and greetings to all,
Anke

This was the 7th and last part of my little series of diary entries of the revolutionary autumn 1989. Should you want to read more from me about my time in East Germany, you can read my book “Tearing down Walls” (original title “Mauern einreißen!”) which only exists in German so far.
Further Information around the Fall of the Berlin Wall ’89:

For German versions, see HERE.

English Version Part 6: My Diary from Autumn 1989 – The Berlin Wall is falling – 09th Nov.1989


“Today, today several hours ago the news – border of the GDR opened! Emigration within 24 hours, private trips from today onwards with just 1-2 weeks notice possible. Unbelievable. Big joy? Big sadness, incomprehensible? – Every hour 3.500 emigrants, every hour!! Alas, they all leave us.”

This is the English Version, the German version is HERE.
My Diary notes of 9th November 1989
This is part 6 of my series “My diary – 25 years ago – Autumn 1989”. Earlier parts are linked at the end of this post, as well as documents, old fotographs, and my book “Mauern einreißen!” (“Tearing down walls” LINK). However, except for the diary parts, all the other pages are in German… I took out some parts which are private, you will recognise this at “(…)”, explanations come in brackets with my initials: “(ADB: explanation)” or (= explanation). More detailed explanations will be found in footnotes (numbers in brackets) at the end of this post.

***

9th Nov. 89 – 0:15, student dormitory, Friday
Brother lost? (1) Today, today several hours ago the news – border of the GDR opened! Emigration within 24 hours, (and) private trips from today onwards with just 1-2 weeks notice possible.

My diary entry from the 9th Nov. 1989

Unbelievable. Big joy? Big sadness (2), incomprehensible? – Every hour 3.500 emigrants, every hour!! Alas, all leave us. Is Kuno (=my brother) still here after all? The (people from the) Demokratischer Aufbruch (= oppositional group (3)) went to the border crossings and tried to convince people to stay here. Everybody leaves, in masses, everything breaks down. Continuously new resignations (4), everything is coming thick and fast.

At this radio recorder I heard and taped the news on the East German border at the evening of 9th Nov. 1989

At this radio recorder I heard and taped the news on the East German border at the evening of 9th Nov. 1989

New Year in Italy? (5) How is Sebastian? (6) Such news and he there, inside (=the prison), important times. Historic times. Berlin demonstration of millions unforgettable. Banner slogans contemporary documents. Next to me, Cesar is purring, our 3rd dormitory cat, next to Susi and Detlef. K. is like exchanged, so kind. Ach. We will request a 6 months study interruption to work in the production. We already volunteered to help out in health care as temps. In KMST (=Karl-Marx-Stadt, today City of Chemnitz) they want to “try” to keep up the Dispensaire-care, the DMH (DMH = Dringliche Medizinische Hilfe = emergency care) and the intensive care, all the rest is gravely underserved, the staff barely ever has time off. Will it help to ease the situation for the doctors? Working in a company or an old-age home – good for the people, true, earning some money at the same time for travels. In the summer to the US? Can I afford the passage? M. invites me, such a kind soul! Visiting France? Mediterranean Sea, the Netherlands, all people (=means my friends (7)), Tunisia, Luanda, where to get the vacation days from, where the money?? I have a longing to (go) everywhere, but to come back.
Anke

***

(1) My brother had filed for emigration and as I already wrote earlier in my diary, I feared to never see him again should he get his emigration approved. Hence the news meant for me something important: my brother is NOT lost, regardless of him emigrating or not, I will be able to see him again!

Selbstportrait, entstanden am 11.09.1989 unter dem Eindruck von Grenzöffnung und Massenflucht

Self portrait, painted with ink at the evening of 9th Nov. 1989 under the impression of the East German border opening and the immediate mass emigration

(2) That with the “big sadness” today, only few people will understand, but it was indeed like that. I had very ambivalent feelings. The alternative of which I had dreamt, “The Third Way” of a democratic socialism, which I and many other oppositionals imagined, had all of a sudden become obsolete with the Fall of the Wall. It was apparent that no more masses will go marching in the streets for this goal. Besides this, the news also told of an emigration-tsunami, with an immediately starting mass flight which concerned me a lot. Thats why I was not only happy but also sad at this evening. We had not only fought for freedom of travels but for a bigger whole. When I heard the news of the border opening, I had been drawing self portraits for the subject Life Drawing. My ambivalent emotions are easy to recognize in these pictures, painted with reed pen and ink. They are not very beautiful … but impressive.  
(3) The Demokratische Aufbruch (DA) was one of the many oppositional groups in the GDR. It only existed from Oct. 1989 until August 1990 and is mainly known for its personnel issues. Within the GDR opposition, the DA was a rather conservative stream. Its press speaker was e.g. Angela Merkel (yes, its her). Its last president Rainer Eppelmann had not only a seat at the Round Table in Berlin but also became a Minister in the first freely elected government in East Germany in 1990. Rather famous AND notorious was the first president of the DA, Wolfgang Schnur, a lawyer, whos telephone number I also got when I was seeking legal assistance for my friend Sebastian. I called this number many times but since I was lucky, nobody ever picked up. It turned out later, that Schnur was a long time Stasi spy and diligently reported on the inner circles of the opposition. This cost him his job as president of the Demokratischer Aufbruch and made the post available for Rainer Eppelmann. In August 1990, the Demokratischer Aufbruch ceased to exist as an independent party and fusioned with the East-CDU (christian democrates party), which in October 1990 fusioned with the West German CDU. Thats how Angela Merkel came from the Demokratischer Aufbruch to the CDU, her first step towards the Chancellerie…

So signierte ich die 6-7 Selbstportraits auf der Rückseite, die am 09. Nov. 1989 entstanden

This is the signature at the back of the 6-7 self portraits I created at 9th Nov. 1989, the two words mean: “Mass Flight” and “Border Opening”

(4) The most important resignation was of course that of Erich Honecker, the president of the Staatsrat, at 18th Oct. 1989, further members of the Politbuerau followed. The culmination point of the bacchanal of resignations was the step down of Erich Mielke, Chief of the Stasi, at 7th Nov. 1989, together with the government around Willi Stoph (president of the Ministers Council). At the next day, the 8th Nov. 1989, the remaining members of the Politbureau of the Central Committee of the SED party resigned. Unforgettable is the (last?) appearance of Erich Mielke in the GDR Volkskammer-Parliament, where he declared in front of laughing MPs (and the rest of the world) that he loved them all… “Yes, I love, I DO love all… all people… I do love…” The tears are tripping me… (Video – german – on  YouTube).

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 18.11.08

(5) I had a pen friend in Italy who had invited me many times to visit him in Padua. Now, a visit seemed possible. 
(6) Sebastian has another name in real life. A friend of childhood days who was imprisoned in Halle. I had pretended to be his fiancée in order to get writing and visiting rights. There had been protests in early October in that prison too, of which he wanted to inform me in his smuggeled letter. He was caught red handed (see Part 4 and 5 of this series) and suffered tightened confinement conditions.

(7) In all these countries I had pen-friends. I had many such letter-based-contacts, since for me, this was a kind of travelling and an option for a cultural and language exchange. When all of a sudden we were granted free movement, my head was buzzling with all opportunities. I had so many potential invitations, so many access points, so many potential travel destinations, that I started to pragmatically consider where to go and where to take the time and money from in order to actually do it. With this, I realised for the first time, that freedom to move is in itself only a theoretical possibility (to start with). My next summer holiday brought me indeed with a Trabbi (=Trabant, small and typical East German car) to the french Normandie and with PanAm (a big airline at that time) to the USA, to my friend M. With her, I drove by car from Massachussets through 11 Federal States, down to Tennessee to her bread-baking uncle. On our way back we marvelled at the Niagara Falls, I visited Boston and New York City. There, I saw the first homeless people in my life, right at the bus station, amongst them younger women, sleeping on card boards. This image haunted me for a long time.

***

This was the 6th part of a small series of diary entries from autumn 1989 in East Germany. Further posts will follow in the next days. Should you want to read more from me about my time in East Germany, you can read my book “Tearing down Walls” (original title “Mauern einreißen!”) which only exists in German so far.
Further Information around the Fall of the Berlin Wall ’89:

For German versions, see HERE.

English Version Part 5: My Diary from Autumn 1989 – around the Fall of the Berlin Wall – 05th Nov.1989

“What a weekend! In Berlin the biggest demonstration which ever took place in this city, voluntarily 1 mio in the streets! Directly reported at DDR1, all speakers uncensored, the calls for the government to step down, diatribes on Krenz and the likes, new elections, legal permission of NF etc. So beautiful banners, they should be collected for a special exhibition. A historic record. I would have loved to be there.”

This is the English Version, the German version is HERE.
My Diary notes of 5th November 1989
This is part 5 of my series “My diary – 25 years ago – Autumn 1989”. Earlier parts are linked at the end of this post, as well as documents, old fotographs, and my book “Mauern einreißen!” (“Tearing down walls” LINK). However, except for the diary parts, all the other pages are in German… I took out some parts which are private, you will recognise this at “(…)”, explanations come in brackets with my initials: “(ADB: explanation)” or (= explanation). More detailed explanations will be found in footnotes.

***

5th Nov.89, 10:15 am, P-Zug (=train) Halle-Leipzig, Sunday
What a weekend! In Berlin the biggest demonstration which ever took place in this city, voluntarily 1 mio in the streets! Directly reported at DDR1 (= nr 1 GDR TV channel), all speakers uncensored, the calls for the government to step down, diatribes on Krenz and the likes, new elections, legal permit for NF (=New Forum, oppositional group) etc. So beautiful banners, they should be collected for a special exhibition. A historic record. I would have loved to be there.
On Friday, I went first to Ha-Neu (= District Halle Neustadt), from there to the Superintendent in the City of Halle. He wasn’t in the Market Church, but at home (…). A skinny man, speaking condensely, concentrated. He listened, I fought back my tears. He was casually asking, what comforted me, how I stood towards the church, how we got to know each other (=me and my friend in prison), on my studies. He called the vigil and drove me there with his car, to pastor Hanewinckel (1). He is the soul of the St. George Church, (and) of the vigil, a man with golden metal rimmed glasses and an undulating grey beard, heavily smoking, like nearly all others there. Until deep in the night he is there and helps everybody. He went with us into a room where we were alone, listened to everything and decided to help.

Mahnwache Nov. 1989, Bild: Hans-Joachim Hanewinckel, aus Udo Grashoff "Keine Gewalt! Dokumente und Interviews. Der revolutionäre Herbst 1989 in Halle an der Saale"

Vigil St. George Church, Halle/Saale, Oct./Nov. 1989, Pic: Hans-Joachim Hanewinckel, aus Udo Grashoff “Keine Gewalt! Dokumente und Interviews. Der revolutionäre Herbst 1989 in Halle an der Saale”

He brought a young man into the room, “Mike”, discharged after 14 months in the juvenil prison Halle at 10th Oct. 89. He is now a case for Amnesty International. He listened to me and than skipped his date to talk with me instead. He still has some contacts to the juvenile prison and promised to get to know something on Monday and to let me know in writing. We walked at app. 11pm to Ha-Neu, he told me his story, hairraising. In 1987, he had filed a request for emigration, provoked the Stasi various times (2 hours sitting in front of the Brandenburg Gate, slow driving up and down in front of it, etc.). He had been interrogated several times and once, on a trip to Eisenach, he was arrested in the train on suspected illegal emigration (=”Republikflucht”). He was put behind bars for 14 months.
His parents dissociated themselves from him. The conditions had been most miserable, always locked in, even during work hours. Various times, he went on strike to improve conditions. Once, their working clothes – standing for dirt – (= German expression) had not been changed for 60 days, they got soup from 1969 and when they unwrapped a camembert, worms crawled out… Once he went into hunger strike, sitting in confinement. The bed was only locked open during the night, the lavatory was locked in the night. After 3 days without eating and drinking they didn’t open the lavatory anymore, “who is not eating, has no need to wash or brush teeth”. After 5 days, when already everything went black most of the time, they came, attached chains with shackels at his hands and feet, put him onto a steel bed and forcefed him with a funnel – then he gave in.

Mahnwache Nov. 1989, Bild: Hans-Joachim Hanewinckel, aus Udo Grashoff "Keine Gewalt! Dokumente und Interviews. Der revolutionäre Herbst 1989 in Halle an der Saale" (S.20)

Vigil St. George Church, Halle/Saale, Oct./Nov. 1989, Pic: Hans-Joachim Hanewinckel, aus Udo Grashoff “Keine Gewalt! Dokumente und Interviews. Der revolutionäre Herbst 1989 in Halle an der Saale”

That something like this exists here! The name Sebastian (2) seemed to ring a bell, but he could not remember his face. He will take care of it. The next morning I called laywer Frenzel, who could not engage in the case before 16th Nov. I called Hanewinckel, we tried to reach 2 other lawyers. It became noon. I called Sebastians mother, for new info. The day before, a letter had come each from the prison and from Sebastian. Sebastian wrote that he is well… he had tried to smuggle a letter and was being punished by disciplinary measures. He had an infection on his head, therefore, his hair had to go. Sebastian as a skinhead… Nothing about a new visit.

Auszug aus den Gründungsstatuten der Sozialdemokratischen Partei der DDR - ich habe die Papiere von der Hallenser Veranstaltung mitgenommen

Snippit from the founding statutes of the Social Democract Party of the GDR – I brought the document from their event in Halle

Around 4pm a new message from Hanewinckel. In Puschkinstreet, in the House of the Junge Gemeinde (=youth branch of the parish), a SDP (=Social Democrat Party of the GDR, founded early Oct. 1989) event was taking place right now, in the back (of the room), a Dr. Willms would sit, in a black shirt and a beige jumper on top of it… he was informed and would bring me into contact with a lawyer. When I eventually found the place, the event had just ended and Dr. Willms was miles away. From the house of pastor Körner I called Hanewinckel. He gave me the address of lawyer Schwahn in (…) way (…), Halle-Döhlau. In between it had turned dark. With the tram I left the city, found the bus station, waited 1/2 hour and took the (line) A to Döhlau-Post, most deserted wilderness. The next 3 people did not know the way. I strayed through this barren deserted hick town, criss-crossing, discovered a man in a drive, who gave me directions. I found the pathway – the most abandoned in all Döhlau. Fog, barely a light, houses far apart from eachother, no sound, puddles, forest around. Oh scary, me in the middle of it. I strayed until (number) 1B, then the world turned black and ended.
At the last light I rang the bell getting a man outside. The path would turn right and then left and then already came the drive of the lawyer. Hence, back into the dark, giant puddles, blackness, blind walking, cracking noises. A hint of a path at the left hand side. I opened my eyes to the fullest extent and fought back tears of despair, ran towards a light. Just in front of the house a violent barking. My god. I raised my hands and didn’t move at all. The dog remained silent. I guessed that he was tied, since he did not come. I shuffled my feed on the ground to make it bark again and force somebody to have a look. It worked. The one who came was laywer Schwahn himself.

He listened and promised to help. Ms (…=mother of Sebastian) just had to sign the certificate of authority. I strayed back through the dark, ran a lot, drove to the city center, to the vigil, searched in vein for the pastor and drove to Haneu. In the meantime, the Little Kathrin (3) had arrived. I saw her for the last time. I still cannot believe it. Should I ever get to the other side (= West Germany), I have to visit her in Kassel, it is not very far from Frankfurt Main. We drank a good-bye vermouth. I called the mother (of Sebastian) again, via G., and C. got her (ADB: she did not have a phone herself). Meanwhile, a 2nd letter had arrived, with a “Speakers Card” (Visiting Allowance for the prison), for the 19th Nov. 1989 – for G. Later more, Leipzig is approaching.

***

(1) I will always remember Pastor Hans-Joachim Hanewinckel as one of the most impressive people of the East German Revolution (who ever knows him, please let him know, as well as my respect, my esteem and my thankfulness – I hope I manage to tell him in person one day). He was the heart and soul of the vigil, which was established at 10th Oct. 1989 at St. George Church, after there had been violent attacks of the police and arrests in Halle around the 40th anniversary of the GDR (7th Oct. 1989). Leipzig may be better known as city of the GDR opposition, but also many things happened in its neighbouring city Halle. I recommend the document “Keine Gewalt! Dokument und Interviews. Der revolutionäre Herbst 1989 in Halle an der Saale” by Udo Grashoff. It has a chronological structure, differentiates between national and local events, and in over 100 pages it also contains original Stasi documents and pictures of this time. It is a wonderful historic document. An interview with Hans-Joachim Hanewinckel on the Revolution and the End of the Wall can be read HERE (in German), it also contains a nice series of pictures of the vigil.
(2) Sebastian has another name in real life. A friend of childhood days who was imprisoned in Halle. I had pretended to be his fiancée in order to get writing and visiting rights. There had been protests in early October in that prison too, of which he wanted to inform me in his smuggeled letter. He was caught red handed (see Part 4 of this series) and suffered tightened confinement conditions. With the help of pastor Hanewinckel I wanted to organise legal counsel for him. 
(3) The Little Kathrin was a fellow student of mine. Her husband had fled to the West German embassy in Berlin and left it after he was promised a permission to legally emigrate in the not too distant future. Some months later, he got his permission and left his wife behind. She too, had filed for emigration and eventually got her permission too. Thats why I thought I will never see her again… More about the Little Kathrin in Part 4 of the diary series. Her nick name “Little Kathrin” comes from the fact that we had 4 Kathrins in our student group, these were the “Little Kathrin”, the “Blonde Kathrin”, the “Tall Kathrin”, and the “Wood Kathrin” (who studied wooden design/art).

***

This was the 5th part of a small series of diary entries from autumn 1989 in East Germany. Further posts will follow in the next days. Should you want to read more from me about my time in East Germany, you can read my book “Tearing down Walls” (original title “Mauern einreißen!”) which only exists in German so far.
Further Information around the Fall of the Berlin Wall ’89:

For German versions, see HERE.

English Version Part 4: My Diary from Autumn 1989 – around the Fall of the Berlin Wall – 2nd Nov.1989

“He had written a letter to me, with detailed information about what happened at 5th and 7th Oct. (strikes, hungerstrikes) and in which he had asked me to make it all public. Somebody denunciated him and the letter was found. Now he is in solitary confinement, might face a trial on ‘illegal transmission of messages with subversive/anti-government content'”

This is the English Version, the German version is HERE.
Preface:
This is part 4 of my series “My diary – 25 years ago – Autumn 1989”. Part 1 is a diary entry of 4th October 1989, (English: HERE, German: HERE. There, you will find also a little introduction to this series. Part 2 are diary entries of 6th and 9th Oct. 2014 covering the upheavals around the 40th anniversary of the GDR (English: HERE, German: HERE). Part 3 is the diary entry of 15th Oct. 2014 (English: HERE, German HERE). On my homepage there are many more documents from the time when the Wall fell (LINK) and some pictures of 1989 (LINK) as well as information about my book “Mauern einreißen!” (“Tearing down walls” LINK). However, all these pages are in German…
I took out some parts which are private, you will recognise this at “(…)”, explanations come in brackets with my initials: “(ADB: explanation)” or (= explanation). More detailed explanations will be found in footnotes.

Selbstportrait als Studentin an der Fachschule für Angewandte Kunst Schneeberg, ca. 1989
Selfportrait as a student at the Art School in Schneeberg, app. 1989

Diary 2nd Nov. 89 – 10pm, Thursday, Student Dormitory

I just came back from the citiziens forum Schlema (= small municipality where I lived), after 3.5 hours discussion. It was not overly exciting. In the chairing body only one woman – she wrote the minutes. Young only the representative of the Environment (CDU = Christdemocrates) and the pastor, who spoke most intelligent, with fine irony and accomplished polemics. One of the few, who put the “bananaproblem” into perspective and pointed to more fundamental things. He was applauded. But also the mayor himself spoke good, he could win my vote at the next elections. Sometimes it became apparent that the people are not used to free dispute. Some became abusive and there had been ad hominem, unqualified attacks. Its a shame how shortsighted many people still are. But great how many there have been and how much they engaged.

Everywhere debates take place. Yesterday was the Schneeberg-Forum.

The guy from Radiation Protection was rather embarassing. Everything here to be totally non-dangerous. (1) Some citizens became slightly racist. About the DSF Street (= street where our student homes were) one complained that there was a rehabilitation workshop, a home for foreigners and a workers home for soldiers…instead of appartments for citizens. The FAK (=my Art School) was not mentioned by the lady when listing all evils, most likely only because she sat right behind us. It was a shame. The med doctor replied accordingly. Everywhere debates take place, yesterday there was the Schneeberg-Forum. On Monday, we had decided on the foundation of our student council, 2 representatives for each study year and 1 for Markneukirchen (=offsite campus for artistic music instruments construction), which is T., a guitar maker from the 1st (=study year), good guy and committed. He would rather debate with us instead of with those deadheads. His first deed: Request a foreign language selection by majority vote, or in clear text: English instead of Russian.

Somebody denunciated him and they found the letter. Now he is in solitary confinement. 

Yesterday, I got a letter from Halle, written 2 weeks ago by Sebastian (2) and smuggled outside (=the prison). A week ago, a letter from an unknown woman from Karl-Marx-Stadt, with the advise to use another return address and to write harmless content. Oh my, Sebastian, the letter killed me. He had written a letter to me, with detailed information on what happened (= in the prison) the 5th and 7th Oct. (strikes, hungerstrikes), and in which he had asked me to make it all public. Somebody had denunciated him and they found the letter. Now he is in solitary confinement, might face a trial on ‘illegal transmission of messages with “subversive/anti-government content”, 3 times daily he gets food through a hole in the door, a glimpse of the street through the small window, thats all. He receives nearly no more mail from me. He saw them in their files, my letters. I am writing now very frequently, using various sender addresses, Bertram wants to write him too, I try to express myself harmlessly. Poor Sebastian!

I have asked everybody here whether they know a legal consultant who is trustworthy 

I am now busy trying everything possible to get him out of there. Still yesterday, I wrote a letter to the prison director (3), with the explicit request, to give me as the fiancée information about the reasons of his tightened arrest conditions since I had not received any news for over 8 weeks, or to at least allow for a consultation. They will not be able to get rid of me just like that. They want to take away his allowance to write to my address, prohibit my visits! I have asked everybody here, whether they know a legal consultant who is trustworthy. Eva provided the address of the Superintendent (= of the protestant church) and of a lawyer in Halle, both via her uncle, and he via his ev.-meth. pastor. After a long struggle with telephone technology and the secretary of the lawyer, I have achieved a lot. Tomorrow, I will drive to Halle, outside to Neustadt, to Little Kathrin, who will give me keys (=for her appartment), then drive to Halle center, past 9pm I can talk with the Superintendent.
Brief an den Leiter der Justizvollzugsanstalt Halle, vom 1. Nov. 1989 (handschriftliche Vorlage, abgeschickt wurde eine Schreibmaschinenabschrift)

Everybody is happy about the illusion of success, the “Wende” and the “Progresses” but at the core, nothing has changed. 

At Saturday, I can call the lawyer to make an appointment for that same day. He was most friendly and promised to help, should it be possible. There is solidarity after all, I am so happy! If only Sebastian knew about it! I also have some connections to Berlin, to lawyer Giesinger, he deals with cases of the 7th of October, amongst them Maria. I also asked B. for help, his Bishop-father surely knows somebody. Via Petra I contacted the New Forum, they too may know somebody who can help. I am so excited! Something eventually has to change! Everybody is happy about the illusion of successes, the “Wende” and the “progresses” but at the core absolutely nothing has changed. As if there was excemption from punishment for convictions and political opinions… ha, ha. Solitary confinement, poor Sebastian. I would so much like to help you. (…)

We will see our Little Kathrin the last time tomorrow. She already received her circulation slip and will soon be in Kassel. 

I already received 5 post cards from Padova from Gabriele (=ital. pen friend). (…) We will see our Little Kathrin the last time tomorrow. She already received her circulation slip (4) and will soon be in Kassel (= West Germany). Our third Kathrin will only finish her studies first. Her boyfriend received his slip too. Now its already 3 out of 20 designers. Can we afford this?! In this year, instead of over 100 we only have 40 applicants, a catastrophe. FAK (= Art School) anounced open study places… unthinkable before.
***

beim Naturstudium an der Fachschule für Angewandte Kunst Schneeberg, 1988/1989(1) Our dormitories had been in Schlema, Erzgebirge, an uranium mining area of the Wismut. We were surrounded by radiating mining dumps. They built fundaments out of burden material, the soil was perforated by old cores, out of some of them, radon gas was discharging and irradiating the environment. When I told my father, a medical doctor, that I wanted to study at an Art School in Schneeberg, he told me of the diagnosis “Schneeberg-Lung-Cancer”… a frequent disease of miners in that region. During the political Turnaround in East Germany (=Die Wende), that issue had been often debated. Lateron, radiation had also been measured. In our student homes they measured 2.000 Becquerel. The legal limit in West Germany was 60 Becquerel… Somewhen after the Iron Curtain fell, the Federal Minister for Environment and Nuclear Energy, Klaus Töpfer, came to Schneeberg. That was not much better. He recommended a woman who had 30.000 Becquerel in her home to open her windows more often, to make the Radon gas go away. It was in the middle of a freezing cold winter.

(2) Sebastian has another name in real life. A friend of childhood days who was imprisoned in Halle. I had pretended to be his fiancée in order to get writing and visiting rights. There had been protests in early October in that prison too, of which he wanted to inform me in his smuggeled letter. At that time, I wrote him colourful letters nearly daily and I nummerated them so he could see, how many letters had been censored.

(3) I never received any answer to this letter from the Halle prison. At 22nd Nov. 1989 – in between the Berlin Wall had fallen – I wrote another letter to the prison director. But I did not get any answer on that one neither. The second letter is linked HERE. With the progress of the East German revolution, a few months later, an amnesty had been passed and my friend got free again.

(4) A so called circulation slip (“Laufzettel) was given to those who had requested their official emigration once their request got approved.  With this slip they had to run from authority to authority to get all sorts of confirmations, and eventually, handover their papers, in order to receive the emigration document. 
***

This was the 4th part of a small series of diary entries from autumn 1989 in East Germany. Further posts will follow in the next days. Should you want to read more from me about my time in East Germany, you can read my book “Tearing down Walls” (original title “Mauern einreißen!” which only exists in German so far :-().
Further Information around the Fall of the Berlin Wall ’89:

English Version Part 3: My Diary from Autumn 1989 – around the Fall of the Berlin Wall – 15.10.1989

“Of people, who had to stand naked for hours against a wall while being interrogated, of women, who where loaded onto trucks and driven to the outskirts, abandoned in the middle of the night on a field”

This is the English Version, the German version is HERE.
My diary entriy of 15th October 1989
This is part 3 of my series “My diary – 25 years ago – Autumn 1989”. Part 1 is a diary entry of 4th October 1989, the English version is HERE, the German version is HERE. There, you will find also a little introduction to this series. Part 2 are diary entries of 6th and 9th Oct. 2014 (English: HERE, German HERE). On my homepage there are many more documents from the time when the Wall fell (LINK) and some pictures of 1989 (LINK) as well as information about my book “Mauern einreißen!” (“Tearing down walls” LINK). However, all these pages are in German…
I took out some parts which are private, you will recognise this at “(…)”, explanations come in brackets with my initials: “(ADB: explanation)” or (= explanation).

Monday, 15th.10.1989
Today, Dietel (=dean) is back, I am here – Müncheberg, Eli too, Anka Goll has gone. Tired, 10pm, shattered, politics is nerve racking, straining, but positively! We are so many! VBK Frankfurt (=Association of Fine Art Artists) -> Resolution. From the VBK Berlin already 3 new ones. Ours (ADB: I meant our student Resolution of the 9th Oct 1989, German blogpost and Resolution are HERE) must have arrived in Berlin via D., I heard in the Tagesschau News about students proposing independent student representations – it can only refer to our identical phrase in our Resolution. I had copied it with typewriter many times. I received a more concrete, new Forum-Text (Neues Forum = oppositional group) from Golls (=friends). I am still typing it. Too tired for today. Maybe tomorrow? (…)

Ausschnitt-15-10-1989-HoneckerIn Berlin a rock concert for democracy yesterday, Karat, Pudys, Pankow, Silly – they all took part. Hurray! In Leipzig, 10.000 out today, yesterday 15.000 peaceful demonstrants in Plauen. Hurray! Process cannot be stopped. People’s humour: Honecker (=General Secretary, head of East German government) had been operated at his gall bladder. He laid off the surgeon, since he had meddled with his inner affairs. Later laid off the internal specialist, because that one had prescribed a “reform-diet”. “Formerly, it was said people without space, now its space without people”. Hungary is now entirely closed. Due to holiday traffic 4.000 (!) had fled last weekend. In Warsaw again 1.400, they expect 150.000 emigrants by the end of the year. Really bad. ZK (=Central Committee of Socialist Unity Party): “We will not shed any tear over those, we can do without traitors” – so bad.

Ausschnitt-Kuno-15101989
Kuno has been told, his problem will be solved this year… will I ever see him again? (ADB: my brother had filed an emigration request). He does not believe in changes to happen. Anka G. told many good things, the Forum won over the whole workforce of some companies, including their management, masses. So many, an idea captured by the masses! There is the truth and then comes Hager (=Kurt Hager, Member of Central Committee of leading socialist party) and says, we have so many platforms and forums, we don’t need new ones, anti-socialist ones; the history of socialism was a history of reforms anyway…how ironic, he gives in, to not have to leave the positions of power. No way, you all have proven your inability long enough!
There are horrible accounts of how the arrested of the 7th October where treated (ADB: about this more in my diary entry of 9th Oct 1989 – LINK). Of people who had to stand naked for hours against a wall while being interrogated, of women, who where loaded onto trucks and driven to the outskirts, abandoned in the middle of the night on a field. The first ones hitchhiked back and informed a police inspector who became furious and had all other women brought back by taxis. Some are still human. Anyway, the School has no longer the argument of anti-socialism against the Forum. In their new declaration it is decribed precisely, to make the GDR better, to reform it, within socialism, for socialism and without reunification.

Auszug-Stasiakte-Sputnik

Part of my Stasi-File with regard to a protest note I had sent to the Ministry of Postal Affairs after the censoring of Sputnik (russian journal)

Tired. From Eli (=friend of my mother of their student times, living in West-Germany) a super Philips double deck recorder, surely very expensive. She did not take my money. (…) It is superstylish, rounded corners, black, leight weighted, beautiful, perfect sound. Karsten will be amazed. Looking forward to share ananas and Nutella with him. I also have now 5 fine cassettes. Alexej (=russian pen friend) put two Sputnik in the mail, I hope they arrive, and I hope they are in German! Should be here soon. (1)
The Stasi (=East German secret service) will surely leave me alone soon, since they will notice that I became an enemy (2). (…) Sebastian’s (=name changed) visit on Sunday was cancelled, his mother received a telegram the evening before – “because of technical prison regime reasons no visit possible”, full, or what? (3)

Footnote explanations:
(1) The Sputnik was a russian monthly readers digest, which early showed the spirit of Glasnost. As open and with criticism as the Sputnik was written, we didn’t know media in the GDR. Therefore, the Sputnik had become a sought-after journal. However, in autumn 1988 (one year before the Berlin Wall fell), the Sputnik had been forbidden and censored. At that time, I wrote a complaint to the Ministry of Postal Affairs which had been replied 2 months later with rather empty words by the ministry. Faster was the registration of my complaint in a file on me by the secret service Stasi, which had been opened for this reason.

(2) With a fake letter, the Stasi lured me in September 1989 to a Youth Travel Office, where the Stasi guy tried to blackmail me into a cooperation as IM – Informal Employee. They wanted me to spy on my fellow students and tell about activities at the Art School. They offered in turn a permission for me to take advantage of a scolarship I had won from a french Art University. Furthermore, they threatened that my father would lose his job as municipal medical doctor, should I refuse to cooperate. My trip to Paris was cancelled due to my refusal, but at least my father kept his job.
(3) Sebastian has another name in real life, he is a friend of childhood days, who was imprisoned in Halle. I pretended to be his fiancé to get visitor rights and to get him the permission to write me. There will be more about him in later posts.

***


This was the 3rd part of a small series of diary entries from autumn 1989 in East Germany. Further posts will follow in the next days. Should you want to read more from me about my time in East Germany, you can read my book “Tearing down Walls” (which only exists in German so far :-().
Further Information around the Fall of the Berlin Wall ’89:

English Version Part 1: My diary from Autumn 1989 – around the Fall of the Berlin Wall (4th Oct. 1989)

This is the English version of my diary entries from autumn 1989 in East Germany. The German version is HERE.
Tagebuch Nr. 24, Oktober - November 1989
I wrote in my diary since I was age 14 and I also did so during the “hot” autumn 1989 during my studies at an Art School in Schneeberg, when I was 21 and engaged in the East German opposition. Even today, I get goose bumps when I read these old lines and those weeks come alive again. Not only memories come back but also emotions. This was a phase of very intense emotions, of fear and panic, euphoria and hope, of despair but also of feelings of invincibility and the experience of courage which one had not thought to be possible to have.
Since these very personal notes may give others an insight into this time, I want to publish them here. In my book “Mauern einreißen”  (tearing down walls) I have published some of these texts abreviated. In this book I also tell, what this time meant to me altogether and why it became a source of unlimited energy for me. Why because of these experiences I believe today that even impossible and big societal change are actually possible. More documents – manifestos and lists of the New Forum mentioned in my diary – but also lots of other original documents of the “Time of the Change” are published on this Website (LINK). Some more pics of 1989 can be found too (LINK).
Below is a transcript of my diary. I only cut out private content, you recognize it at “(…)”. Explanations of abbreviations etc. are in italic in brackets. Some names are only as initials. This is my first blog post about my diary notes in autumn 1989, more will follow.
04.10.2014, 23:15 Uhr, Schlema, WH FAK DSF 3
(Student home, Fachschule für Angewandte Kunst, Strasse der DSF 3)

“Inapprehensible, why I did not write for such a long time. Maybe I just couldn’t start? Horror Vacui because there is so much to write? Often done in thoughts. Oh my, so much politics, politics, politics. It never occupied me as much, filled up my life and guided me.

My diary – a page from the entry made at 4th October 1989

A hot time, dangerous, finally active and interesting. Nobody gets away without taking up a position.

A hot time, dangerous, finally active and interesting. The situation has come, where decisions have to be taken, where something significant happens. Historic events and opportunities, which never existed before. It can degenerate in any direction, even neo-stalinism as to the practices applied or a military dictatorship are possible. A counter revolution is in the air. Things are bubbling beneath the surface, its boiling, its burning. Everywhere. Nobody gets away without taking up a position. Eventually, one has to confess. Say what you think. Its high time.

Self portrait, 1989, in my student home

Selbstportrait, 1989, im Studentenwohnheim

What happened? The whole summer already, Thousands emigrated via Hungary. Now, in September, last weekend a total of 6.800 citizens (with small children!) occupied the West-German embassy in Prague and several 100 the one in Warsaw. On canvas and in tents and under undignified conditions some of them spent weeks. 1 medical doctor for all, who a long time ago refused to assume  responsibility. Of 50 kids, 40 had diarrhea. Genscher himself anounced the solution on Saturday – emigration – passing through the GDR with East German Railways. An unimaginable rejoicing. Strange pictures, just like Emigrations of Nations after a war. Like flight from barbarism. Hugging, tears.
In Dresden and on the way, more and more people jumped (onto the trains). A guy from Müncheberg (my home town), B – brother of Achim – was in TV, thanking the polish government and the Solidarnosc for their help. What a view! The embassies were to be closed. But West Germany did not stick with it and today in the morning it had been 11.000 people (!) again around the embassy. Yesterday, the news that the visa free travel to Czechoslovakia has been abolished until further notice. One shock after another. Now only Rostock and Suhl are possible without a visa. Hurray. No more surprise visits at Gustavs! 11.000, and Kuno (my brother) had thought about travelling to Prague. Had he known how fast things are happening, he would have left long ago.

Something has to happen, eventually!

Its getting hotter in the school too. Bertram brought me a NF-Info-paper (NF= New Forum, major oppositional group) and a members list as well as a broshure about neofascism in the GDR. The Info paper we copied by type writer several times (in the atelier office) and distributed it amongst people. Here I recruited Sylvia and Gundula only. After the last events (Karsten is being tailed and his room has been entered too) he decided to sign too, and Annett and some others will follow. First I have to get hold of the list again, stupid me, I left it at home. I can be proud of my family. Father, mother, sister, her husband, my boyfriend – they all signed. My mum after overcoming hesitation. Her experience with the Stasi (East German secret service) was not without effect. Where they had told her: “you are lucky if you can see your kids again… My father was convinced easier. Something has to happen, eventually! (…)

Aus der Wendezeit - mein Schreibtisch im Wohnheim - hier schrieb ich mein Tagebuch
During the time of the change – my desk in my student home – here I wrote in my diary

We refuelled courage.

We went to Anka Goll, it turned out that she wanted to visit us too because of the Forum. She also had the info paper and the list. We refuelled courage. On 16th October, they will come over, when E. is visiting too. Here we have nearly daily meetings. It was about the question: party – yes or no, if yes, then how. With party we mean the Keilberg-Festival on 8th October. It already was announced everywhere and published in the press, and a lot had been organised. In vein. Our students fought courageously. We debated long and many times. Only on Tuesday – after the news regarding Czechoslovakia we called for a boycott.

Honesty is needed, not to celebrate now doesn’t mean to ignore 40 years, but to recognize them.

We weighed all, but then came unanimously to the conclusion that we have to disobey. That in the current situation, which shows an unforseen flight movement, it is impossible to celebrate with a festival the 40th anniversary of the GDR. Even if we had come with posters or dressed in black. Honesty is needed and not to celebrate now does not mean to ignore 40 years but to recognize them. These last weeks are the consequence of these 40 years, impossible without the latter. Celebrating? Never.

Everyone expects grave events, and that it “will get much worse”

In Leipzig, on Monday, the biggest manifestation since 1953, 20.000, the Stasi “loaded” some on trucks, taken by hands and feet. Horrible, its starting. At the talks with the professors it was made clear that it could anytime come to a situation either comparable to 1953 or unprecendented. Everyone expects grave events, and that it “will get much worse”. Oh my. But finally something is happening and a birth comes always with pain.

Of late, my mail is arriving opened in Müncheberg. Nice, how fast they react.

IMG_2524Of late, my mail is arriving opened at Müncheberg. Nice how fast they react. Adieu, France, it will come to nothing. They can hardly send there a forbidden NF-member. And they find out everything. In the papers there is nothing or bullshit. Bad in any case. Hairraising. The Thousands are “some citizens, amongst them anti-socials”, the Hungary refugees had been “drugged and dragged over the Western border”, the “slave trade” into the imperialism is florishing… you could vomit. Disgusting bullshit. I received an invitation, to take part in a torchlight procession in Aue, “commitment to the fatherland”, “trust in the politics of the home country”, “for a life in happiness and peace, for us and our children”, what a mockery. The train station at Dresden had been occupied by more than 3.000 cititzens, who wanted to jump on the traings which passed through the GDR, coming from Prague. First, a woman was talking nicely into a loud speaker, than the measures had been aggravated step by step and finally, the police intervented. The people were laying themselves on the tracks to stop the trains.

One is suprised by the big friendship to China, remembers the June rebellion and its so bloody end. Would our soldiers take part in something like this?

One is surprised by the big friendship to China – remembers the June rebellion and its so bloody end. Would our soldiers take part in something like this? What will I do at 7th Oct.? Go to Berlin? Something will be happening, for sure. Has to. The tension calls for discharging. The letter from Gabriele (Italian pen friend) disappeared. Meanness. Simply confiscated. The one from Melissa (American pen friend) arrived opened. She wrote really friendly, which made me happy. Florence (French pen friend) offered me a stay, should I need one, she would be always there for me and I could stay as long as I needed to. From Gabriele, at least the parcel arrived, but it took 5 weeks, despite express delivery. (…)


This was the start of a little series of postings on my diary of autumn 1989 in East Germany. Further posts will follow in the next days. Should you want to read more from me about my time in East Germany, you can read my book “Tearing down Walls” (which only exists in German so far :-().
Further Information around the Fall of the Berlin Wall ’89: