© Klaus Lehnartz, Bundesbildstelle, Presse- und Informationsamt der Bundesregierung

Milestones

The Commission on the 30th Anniversary of the Peaceful Revolution and German Reunification has identified some special milestones from among the many important dates and events of the years 1989 and 1990. These dates are meant to commemorate in various ways the courage and dedication of people in the GDR, as well as key decisions and achievements in the transformation process, the reconstruction of eastern Germany and the process of Germany growing closer together.

The Commission chose the following milestones:

2019
Eight people sit on a stage in front of a backdrop bearing the words „Die Zeit war reif”, meaning „The time had come”. Microphones are positioned in front of them.
9 September:
Founding appeal of the New Forum
The New Forum represented the many opposition groups of the civic protest movement, which played a crucial role in mobilizing society and in the success of the peaceful revolution. To commemorate this historically important day, some of the civil rights activists of that time reunited in the grounds of Schloss Schönhausen palace in the Berlin district of Pankow.
A yellow and green historical second-class railway carriage sits on the tracks in a train station. The railway carriage displays the logo of the anniversary year with the words „Deutschland ist eins: vieles” (Germany: coming together as one)
28 September:
“Embassy refugees” cross into West Germany from Prague
Pressure from the flood of people fleeing the country played a crucial role in destabilizing the Communist dictatorship of East Germany. In September 1989, West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher announced that the refugees gathered at the West German embassy in Prague could travel across East German territory to West Germany. In commemoration of this special day, former embassy refugees travelled from Dresden to Prague on a historical train.
In front of the illuminated entrance of the Gethsemanekirche church in Berlin, people hold paper lanterns in one hand.
9 October:
MONDAY DEMONSTRATION IN LEIPZIG
Monday, 9 October 1989, was the “Tag der Entscheidung”, or Decision Day. On this day, some 70,000 people demonstrated in Leipzig. The entire country watched Leipzig with bated breath, fearing that the demonstration would be violently repressed, but it was not. This important moment was commemorated at the Gethsemanekirche, a church in Berlin that had been a stronghold of solidarity.
In a television studio, people sit at tables looking at a large screen. On the screen, a man is being interviewed.
9 November:
OPENING THE BORDER BETWEEN EAST AND WEST GERMANY
The iconic images of ecstatic crowds in Berlin on the night of 9 November 1989 stand out in many people’s memories. This historic milestone was commemorated in an interactive talk format entitled “Das längste Gespräch Deutschlands”, or Germany’s longest conversation. Numerous conversations took place along the former border between East and West Germany, with participants discussing their experience of the fall of the Wall as well as the joys and challenges that followed.
A group of people stand in front of a bridge, the Bösebrücke, at the former border crossing point at Bornholmer Straße in Berlin. The weather is rainy and some of them hold umbrellas with the logo of the anniversary year.
Meeting with civil rights activists
“People forget the past. We need witnesses to it so that we can keep remembering.” This was the guiding motto of a lunch event that took place on 9 November, where international civil rights activists, in their role as witnesses to events, spoke with students of public history at the Freie Universität Berlin and with young reporters.
2020
Camera crews are gathered for a press conference after the parliamentary elections of 1990. At the left edge of the photo, politician Lothar de Maizière is visible.
18 March:
FIRST FREE AND DEMOCRATIC PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS IN EAST GERMANY
The parliamentary elections of 1990 marked a new phase of the peaceful revolution: it now took on an institutional form. The call for free elections had always been among the core demands of the opposition and resistance movements against the Communist dictatorship in East Germany. The elections symbolized the introduction of representative democracy.
A long queue of people waits in front of a corner building. Above the entrance to the building is a sign reading „Stadt- und Kreissparkasse Görlitz” (municipal and district savings bank of the city of Görlitz).
1 July:
MONETARY, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL UNION
German unity came much more quickly than expected. The resulting monetary, economic and social union (First State Treaty) literally changed the lives of all East Germans overnight – and permanently. The tremendous challenges that East Germany and all of Germany faced led to an unparalleled political, social and economic transformation.
West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, East German Prime Minister Lothar de Maizière, French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas, Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd and US Secretary of State James Baker are shown in Moscow, signing the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany.
12 September:
SIGNING OF THE TWO PLUS FOUR AGREEMENT
German unity would not have been possible without the Two plus Four process. Moving beyond the post-war order that arose from the Yalta Conference was also a necessary requirement for creating a new Europe. This milestone offers an occasion to address the international context of the peaceful revolution and German reunification.
A large group of people stand on the lawn in front of the Reichstag building during a fireworks display in the night before the Day of German Unity in 1990. Some of them wave German flags.
3 October:
DAY OF GERMAN UNITY
The 30th German Unity Day is to be celebrated as an occasion bringing all of Germany together. In the coming months, the Commission will draft proposals for remembering and commemorating the peaceful revolution and German reunification in future years.