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As the 30th anniversary looms, Germans remember the Berlin Wall's surprising fall

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As the 30th anniversary looms, Germans remember the Berlin Wall's surprising fall

As the 30th anniversary looms, Germans remember the Berlin Wall's surprising fall

Nearly three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Berliners reflect on the night that changed history, and what's changed today.

Emer McCarthy reports.

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As the 30th anniversary looms, Germans remember the Berlin Wall's surprising fall

It was one of the defining moments of the 20th century- the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

But for Sascha Moellering, it was his mother that encouraged him to witness history being made as she watched Guenter Schabowski--a senior East German communist official, accidentally announce the opening of the wall at a televised news conference.

(SOUNDBITE) (German) SASCHA MOELLERING, WITNESS TO THE FALL OF THE WALL, SAYING: "It was clear that somehow it would happen today.

And at some point, my mother looked at me and asked: 'What are you doing here?

Go!

This is history!

And you have to go.'

It later turned out that the announcement was not supposed to be made until 4 a.m.

The following day.

But when Moellering arrived at the Wall, the celebrations were already under way.

(SOUNDBITE) (German) SASCHA MOELLERING, WITNESS TO THE FALL OF THE WALL, SAYING: "And there were a few thousand people standing on the Wall singing and dancing to Beatles songs, 'Give peace a chance' of course, and the mood was really great.

At first people jumped into the East from the Wall and got themselves pulled back up before the border guards arrived." For others, like Susanne Roebisch, German integration was more a cause of confusion than celebration for the then-14-year-old.

(SOUNDBITE) (German) ) SUSANNE ROEBISCH, WITNESS TO THE FALL OF THE WALL, SAYING: "And then we all sat there, thinking: 'What?

How?

The wall is open now?

Was that a clear statement?

Did he say everyone can go from East to West and West to East?

What?'

And my brother said: 'I am going, I want to see this live.'

And he left immediately." Nearly three decades after German reunification, there's still a way to go in terms of integration.

A government report released in September showed majority of east Germans still feel like second-class citizens, even though they are catching up economically with western areas.




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