Posted by: ingogulde | May 21, 2010

“Wir sind das Volk” – How the Fall of the Wall Begun

Source: Website of St. Nicholas Church in Leipzig

Recently, my family and I went back to Germany for a short vacation. Traditionally, we always take a trip to Leipzig. Leipzig has about 500,000 inhabitants and is situated in Saxony about 120 miles Southwest of Berlin.

Already in 1813, Leipzig played a prominent role in world history. In the Battle of the Nations (also known as the Battle of Leipzig), Napoleon suffered one of his greatest defeats which led to his downfall and marked an important turning point in history.

In October 1989, another memorable turning point in history was initiated in Leipzig. What begun with hundreds of people gathering for peace prayers in the Nikolaikirche (St. Nicholas Church), turned into hundreds of thousands of people by the end of October 1989. Each Monday after the church service, masses of people would then march peacefully through the city of Leipzig and chant “Wir sind das Volk” or “We are the people!”. Not only gathered people in Leipzig, but also in other East German cities to demonstrate against the socialist regime.

The protesters, especially those in Leipzig, walked on the fringe of a violent escalation. Security forces were alarmed and ready to intervene. Hospitals were prepared for the worst case stashing away blood for potential casualties. Luckily, the leaders in East Berlin did not give orders to end this movement with brute force.

The Monday demonstrations (known as “Montagsdemos”) increased the pressure on the East German government vehemently. This internal pressure ultimately led to the Fall of the Wall on November 9, 1989.

IG

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