All Our Yesterdays: November 9th 1989 - The Fall Of The Berlin Wall

On November 9th 1989 the Berlin Wall, which had divided Germans since 1961, was to fall spectacularly. This marked the beginning of the end for the Soviet Union, which was to be dissolved on December 26th 1991, to the relief of hundreds of millions of citizens, but declared by Russian president Vladimir Putin as the "greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century."

Berlin Wall 3

239 people are believed to have died at the wall whilst attempting to escape to the west, including a 15 month old year old child, recorded as Holger, H. who suffocated on January 22nd 1973 during his parent's escape, and who is buried in Berlin-Marienfelde. An 80 year old woman, Olga Segler, was the eldest recorded fatality, succumbing to internal injuries suffered when she leapt from a window at her home at Bernauer Straße 34.

As many as 5,000 people managed to escape.

There is no single recorded case of any west Berliners attempting to "escape" from west to east.

The Wall was an edifice of fear. On November 9th, it became a place of joy.

Former German President Horst Köhler, Berlin, November 9th 2009

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor of EU Today. 

An experienced journalist and published author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

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