Today, Monday November 10, 2014 German I students traced the tumultuous happenings twenty-five years ago when the Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989. This event marked the demise of the socialist German Democratic Republic, but it happened by a fluke. A Politburo member mistakenly announced over the radio waves that effective immediately, East Germans would be allowed to pass unimpeded into West Berlin. Thousands rushed to the streets and the cross-over points between the two Berlins.
But the crowds were disappointed when border guards would not let them pass. When faced with a disenchanted crowd growing increasingly more restless, one border guard, Harald Jaeger, defied his superior’s orders and opened his gate. As PTA German I students watched actual footage of this moment in history, they chanted with the East Germans “Tor auf! Tor auf! Tor auf!” (Open the gate! Open the gate! Open the gate!) Later the night of November 9, 1989, all the gates were opened between East and West Berlin. It’s estimated 20 thousand East Germans poured into West Berlin to celebrate their freedom.
PTA German students also viewed a video clip of actual remnants of the Wall now placed in cities in the four corners of the globe. They came to realize that these remnants of the Berlin Wall powerfully express that peace can be achieved through peaceful means.