Süddeutsche Zeitung, Monday, November 13th, 1989, p. 1


Momper: Heart of Berlin will beat again

The Wall opened at Potsdam Square / Berlin mayors Momper (West) and Krack (East) to meet at border / Millions of GDR citizens on the road again

This is an English summary. The full article is only available in German.

On Sunday morning, 28 years after the Wall was built, Potsdam Square, which was a focal point of city life until then, has been opend for passenger and vehicle traffic. Mayor Walter Momper of West Berlin an Erhard Krack of the Eastern part met at the borderline - the first official meeting ever between the mayors of both parts of the city. Momper said that Potsdam Square once was the heart of Berlin, and that heart would beat again.

Momper and Krack discussed some issues of cooperation on different administration levels. On Saturday, police from East and West had established a direct telephone and radio connection and agreed on exchanging two police officers in the future to ease communication.

The border crossing at Potsdam square is the fifth to be opened to the public since Friday evening. (The first one was the "Glienicker Brücke" between Berlin and Potsdam, famously known as "Bridge of Spies" because it was often used to exchange captured spies between the East and the West.)

On Saturday morning, protesters used pickaxes to break a section of 30 square feet out of the Wall, but GDR border patrol repaired the damage later on.

The West German president, Richard von Weizsäcker, asked all Germans during a service at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Curch in Berlin to deal with freedom and truth in a responsible way. The Wall wouldn't be what it was, but the opening of the borders should not make people feel triumphant. Weizsäcker also ventured some 15 metres onto Eastern Berlin territory and thanked the GDR border patrol for their cooperation.

On the weekend, hundreds of thousands of GDR citizens swamped the streets of Western Berlin. Millions took advantage of the new freedom and visited other parts of Western Germany. The GDR government has issued more than 4 million visa since Thursday evening. Traffic jams are reported from the border crossings. Although new crossings were opened on Sunday, some congestions extended for 60 km. Shop opening laws were relaxed in many parts of Western Germany.

Many Western cities were characterized by cars from the other part of Germany. In Hof, about 20 minutes' drive from the border crossing at Rudolphstein, the whole city had to be closed for vehicle traffic for security reasons. Shelves in department stores and shops were emptied by the high demand for Western goods; tape recorders, walkmen, audio records, watches and southern fruits were among the most wanted.

  Frederik Ramm, 2001-04-27