When you study history you know it. And even when you do not study history, you should know it. But how many people do?
But is it not fair to start this blog like this. Lets start where my thoughts started this morning during my first cup of coffee, when my eyes moved across the online version of a German magazine. My plan was to read about the demonstration in Gorleben (to all who do not follow German politics – in Gorleben is a huge demonstration against a CASTOR transport (means: “cask for storage and transport of radioactive material“). But when I saw the date I stopped reading. Today is 9th of November.
Some of you might say: yes, it is. And tomorrow is 10th of November, so what??
But for the German history the 9th of November is an important day. In good and in bad.
09.11.1989: The German Democratic Republic, or better known as East-Germany, announced accidentally that the borders to west Germany are open. Thousands of People therefore came to the border to see if this is true. The border guards could not handle the situation and then were forced to open the border – the fall of the Berlin Wall after 28 years was celebrated by people from east and west dancing and drinking and singing on top of the wall.
When you now ask: but why is then 3rd of October the official reunion day in Germany… i can answer because on this day 3 other important things happens in history. I remember that my history teacher in school once called the 9th of November as a “german day of fate”.
The first historical fact I want to bring to your memory is actually a good day in history – taken for itself at least. But since the darkest time of German History followed on it this day also has something like a dark shadow.
On 9th of November 1918, the social-democrat Phillip Scheidemann announced at 2 p.m. the first Democratic Republic on German territory. This would and should be a good day, but the for 2 more days ongoing war with the peace treaty of Versailles gave the German Republic a burden it could not carry long – and in the end the Austrian A. Hitler gained power and lead Germany to its darkest hours in History.
And with the man called Hitler we come to the two other significant dates we remember on 9.11. (interesting by the way, the Germans write dd.mm.yy. – so is it 9 11 .- if you read that date in the American way it leads you also to a day that will be remembered … )
But back to topic. 1923 the very same Hitler tried a coup d´etat, ending in the gunfire of the Bavarian police. Hitler was arrested after he was found hiding in a cupboard in a Munich apartment.
And in 1938 the Nazis organized the “Reichspogromnacht” or “Night of broken glass”, the first big and extended pogrom against Jews in Germany.
The last two points are the reason why 9.11.1989 did not become the Day of Reunion in Germany. For me – it now is a symbol that people can overcome any regime of terror if they stand up united for democracy and liberty.