Day of German Unity

Before I started this post I thought to myself, “Oh no! History.” It’s hard to write about a nation’s history where you’ve never become part of that country. It’s difficult to write when all you knew were from the textbooks you read when you were just a high school student.

Today is the national holiday of Germany. Called Tag der Deutschen Einheit or Day of German Unity, it commemorates the German Unification which is the process in which the East Germany joined the West Germany and Berlin was reunited as one city. It is the end of the unification process called die Wende or The Turning Point.

I tried to write something about this important day but I thought, “everybody can read it in Wikipedia, what’s the purpose of posting it here?” As I was researching for this article I stumbled upon these pictures of the scenes during the times where Germany was divided. I can’t help but shed a tear seeing these heart-wrenching photos. I can’t imagine how life was during those times. How difficult it was for families who were separated by the Berlin Wall…

Construction of the Berlin Wall

After the Wold War II, Germany was divided into four zones. US, France and Great Britain (Western Allies) cooperated but the Soviet became remote. A fence separated the allies from the Soviet bloc in 1953. In 1961, the Berlin Wall was built as tension grew.

Families were separated during those times. This is a photo of a daughter who escaped to the West talking to her mother on the other side.

A 17 y/o boy who was helped by Western troops to escape from East Germany.

In June 1987, then American President Ronald Reagan delivered a speech at the Branderburg Gate and addressed Mikhail Gorbachev these provoking words, “Tear down this wall.”

In November 9, 1989, travel restriction was abolished. Thousands of Germans from the East trooped to the checkpoints along the wall and insisted entry into the West. The guards couldn’t do anything but to give in.

Two days after the travel restriction, the Berlin Wall comes down and paved the way for the reunification of Germany.

Seeing these photos made me realize the impact of history not only to the lives of the Germans but to ours as well. They gave me mixed emotions, goosebumps, sadness and the feeling of triumph.

image credit: www.time.com