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How we remember the fall of the Wall in Europe. >> Collecting bricks of memory

An international youth exchange in Berlin and Wandlitz am See, Germany (March to April 2009).

Imprint: This publication was created in 2010 in the context of the youth exchange “Break it down! How we remember the fall of the wall in Europe. Collecting bricks of memory.” organized by the Bosporus-Gesellschaft e.V. and funded by the Youth Action-Programme of the European Commission and Composition and editing: Henriette Heimbach Layout: © Henriette Heimbach Co-Layout photography chapter: © Susanne Hauer Final editing: Henriette Heimbach, Susanne Hauer Organization of youth exchange: Henriette Heimbach, Susanne Hauer Contact details:, All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

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20 years after the fall of the Wall


Historical events in 1989



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City mapping

Creative writing

20 years after the fall of the Wall Henriette Heimbach

Bricks fell down and a Wall was opened when people were pushing from behind. 1989 was a historical year for Central and Eastern Europe with consequences for the world in whole. The Wall or the Iron Curtain divided Europe for more than 40 years and installed the Cold War between communist states and Western democracies with letting people live in a permanent war cloud on both sides. Similar to a falling domino that incites other dominos to fall, system change was brought about in all Eastern communist countries in the late 1980s. Poland was the ďŹ rst to kick the domino and Romania represented the last stone to be overturned. 20 years after the Wall was torn down in Berlin not only Germany but many post-soviet states commemorate the turbulent events that forced communist leaders to resign and to give way to true democratic elections. 20 years later the Bosporus-Gesellschaft e.V. organized a youth exchange in order to collect bricks of memory and put together a picture of what has happened in 1989 and how we remember the fall of the Wall in Europe. 24 young people coming from Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, France and Germany met in March and April 2009 in Wandlitz and Berlin to trace these historic events and ďŹ nd out what kind of memories are related to them today. Through roundtables with experts such as Jan Wielgohs from the Institute for Transformational Studies in Frankfurt/Oder or Stefan Wolle, head of research at DDR Museum Berlin and in their own presentations the participants learned about the reasons that led to regime change in the respective countries. Differences and similarities came to light as well as interconnections and the European dimension were singled out. Not only Berlin offers many historic places in this respect, also Wandlitz, a village close-by where we stayed the ďŹ rst days, holds a distinct memory. The Wandlitz-Waldsiedlung used to be the 1

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secure housing zone of the “Politbüro”. Political leaders such as Erich Honecker1 and high-ranking functionaries of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) lived in Wandlitz well hidden in a forest. Claudia Schmid-Rathjen from the Wandlitzer Geschichtswerkstatt introduced the participants to the former quaint importance of the village. When staying in Berlin we followed the traces of the Wall and the authoritarian regime by visiting the former prison of the ministry of state security (Stasi) in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen and the new interactive GDR museum. As we consider interactive learning as a key to the understanding of history we met with time witnesses such as the former political prisoner in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Matthias Melster. In preparation of the exchange the participants also interviewed their parents and grandparents on the historic changes. During the project they shared these personal stories with the group. Moreover, the group’s task was it to work out their own perspective on the events that took place in 1989, after and beforehand, in Europe and their origins. Apart of national interpretations we approached the topic from a European perspective looking at similarities in history and commemoration. Interactively, we created four different working groups (photo, interview, creative writing, city map) that tackled the same topic in different ways. A lot of space was left for creativity and innovative approaches to 1989 in Europe. Finally, you find in here the results of these working groups showing innovative views and interpretations by young Europeans. Firstly, the historic events that took place in the home countries of the participants are summarized. The following chapters present the outcome of the working groups: a thematic series of photographs (photo group), interviews with time witnesses (interview group), a mapping of the events (city map group) and a fictional story of what could have happened in 1989 (creative writing group). Break it down


Thank you note We would like to thank the Bosporus-Gesellschaft e.V. to have given us the opportunity to organize this project as well as our participants and our partner organizations “Terra incognita” in Poland, “International Initiatives for Cooperation” in Bulgaria, “Eurocircle” in France and “Via Pacis” in Hungary for their help and cooperation. The successful organization of the project was only possible through the financial support of the European Commission funding programme “Youth in Action” and of “dieGesellschafter. de”. Similarly, we would like to thank the Kreuzberger Kinderstiftung and the Humboldt-University to have offered us rooms at our disposal as well as our sponsors: INKiESS GmbH, Berlin Tourismus Marketing GmbH and Beam It. Most importantly, we are grateful to all the external experts, namely Mathias Melster (Photographer and tour guide at the museum “Gedenkstätte Berlin-Hohenschönhausen”), Bianca Ely (“Alice Salomon Fachhochschule Berlin”), Urszula Wozniak (art project “Placemaking”), Stefan Wolle (“DDR Museum” Berlin), Jan Wielgohs (“Frankfurter Institut für Transformationstudien” at the European University Viadrina) and Claudia Schmid-Rathjen (“Geschichtswerkstatt Wandlitz”) to have participated beneficially in the project. With their knowledge, they have given us deep insights into the topic and enriched the project immensely.

Henriette Heimbach and Susanne Hauer (youth project leaders)

Erich Honecker led as General Secretary the GDR from 1976 to 1989 under communist rule. 1


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Historical events in 1989 Henriette Heimbach

In the 1980s, tensions grew between the people and its communist governments in the Eastern bloc as the influence of the Soviet Union faded. With the advent of “Perestroika” and “Glasnost”1 in the Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev, a window of opportunity was opened to finally change the system of government. In the past, the violent oppression of the workers’ uprising in Berlin in 1953, the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, the Prague Spring in 1968 or the imposition of martial law in Poland in 1981 had been turning points in history and reduced step by step the support for the communist ideology. This political oppression has left marks in people’s memory and influenced the mobilization for change in 1989. Fears that a shift of power from a centralized one-party system to a multi-party democracy might cause a bloody repression by communist leaders proved unfounded. In most communist states system change was then brought about by a peaceful revolution owing to the presence of peace-minded reformists on both sides, the communist party and the democratic opposition. In February 1989, the Hungarian Communist Party’s Central Committee, responding to “public dissatisfaction”, announced it would permit a multi-party system in Hungary and hold free elections. The leader of the imperial soviet power Mikhail Gorbachev condoned Hungary’s moves toward a multi-party system and promised that the USSR would not interfere in Hungary’s internal affairs. At the same time in Poland in February 1989 leaders of the Polish Communist Party came together with representatives from the so far illegal trade union “Solidarność” and other opposition groups at a roundtable, a format that became a role model for all other countries. The Polish government’s initial attempt to defuse growing social unrest by these talks resulted in the agreement on partially free elections in June. In August Tadeusz Mazowiecki was Break it down


elected the first Prime minister of a non-communist government. Then in summer 1989 social and political mobilization processes started nearly everywhere in the Eastern bloc and culminated in the revolutionary political transitions in autumn of the same year. In September Hungary’s Foreign Minister Gyula Horn announced that East German refugees in Hungary would not be repatriated but would instead be allowed to go to the West. The resulting mass escape shook East Germany and hastened the fall of the Berlin Wall when Hungary began taking down its barbed wire fence along the Austrian border – the first tear in the Iron Curtain. On 9th November 1989 the Wall came down in Berlin leading one year later, in October 1990, to the reunification of East and West Germany after 45 years of division. Still in autumn 1989 and 20 days after the fall of Berlin Wall, the Czechoslovakian parliament decided with no dissentient to erase article 4 of the constitution that assured the monopoly of the communist party. In Bulgaria, Stalinist leader Todor Shivkov was removed from power through a party internal coup d`état. The new leader Petar Mladenov gave way to the pressure of the “Union of Democratic Forces” and organized free elections in May 1990. In December 1989 riots broke out in Romania and led to the bloody revolution resulting in the execution of communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife. Peaceful pressure by the people and democratic movements endorsed free elections and state independency in Ex-Yugoslavia and the Baltic countries. Finally, in April 1991 the Warsaw Pact disestablished itself formally. As a European country that was not directly involved, France looked at the process from a sceptical distance. In the first place a possible German reunification left the French with an uneasy feeling fearing that the German neighbor would grow again in military strength. Nevertheless, shortly after the reunification the French president François Mitterand engaged in good relations 7

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with Germany. Together with German chancellor Helmut Kohl he brought forward the idea of an integrated Europe and strengthened lastingly the European Union. Nowadays, nearly all former Central and Eastern European post-soviet states found their way into community of the European Union.

Perestroika means literally „restructuring“ and refers to the restructuring of the Soviet political and economic system while Glasnost can be translated with “openness”, a policy introduced by Gorbachev to enhance the transparency of governmental actions and induce freedom of information. 1

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Mass escape of GDR citizens (August/September) Demonstrations (October) Demission of Erich Honecker (18.10.) Opening of the inner-german border (9.11.) Interim government Modrow (18.11.) Creation of new parties

Demonstrations (since 17.11.) Demission of the communist leadership (24.11.) Government of “national understanding“ (10.12.) Vaclav Havel becomes president (29.12.)

Reformist majority in the communist party (24.6.) Dissolution of the party (7.10.) Opening of the Western border (10.9.) Constitutional changes (multi-party system, market economy)

Crisis of the Yugoslavian federation Constitutional changes in Slovenia causes conict in Serbia (27.9.)

1989 9

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Agreement on reforms at the “roundtable“ (5.4.) semi-free elections (4.6.) National unity- government under the leadership of “Solidarity“ (since 12.8.)

Uprisings after the Temesvar massacre (16.12.) Execution of Ceauscescu (25.12.) „National Salvation Front“ forms the government

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Photography Mart贸n (Hungary) D谩niel (Hungary) Jonathan (France) Karol (Poland) Borislava (Bulgaria)


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Interviews Barbara(Poland) Gergely (Hungary) Marie-Sophie (France) Margot (France) Nicoletta (Bulgaria) Philipp (Germany)

When people are being asked about their memories of the fall of the Wall, they usually have a lot of things to tell. Since we were an international group, with participants from Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary and Poland, where the collective and communicative memories are different, we decided to carry the intercultural character of our project into the work of our interview group. Our aim was to collect different bricks of memories about the transition time1, especially with a focus on the events at the end of the eighties. Therefore, we planned to interview people with different cultural backgrounds living in Berlin. To give a general overview about our questions we asked, we chose to present one whole interview with the time witness Matthias Melster who was a political prisoner in the prison of the Ministry of State Security in Berlin-Hohenschรถnhausen in the GDR.


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Matthias Melster He is 42 years old and lives in Berlin. He learned to be a dentist in the GDR and is now tour guide in the memorial place Berlin-Hohenschönhausen and photographer. What do you think is the symbol of the transition time that led to the fall of the communist bloc? MM: The symbol for me personally is the flag of the “Solidarity”-movement in Poland. Because this was the thing that was relevant for me. This was the first time where I was thinking: ‘Wow, there is something happening, which is not planned and controlled by the communist government.’ Concerning the collapse of the GDR, for me the symbol are the “Mondaydemonstrations” in Leipzig. Did the fall of the Wall touch you personally or was it the event of someone else? MM: I was very touched by that moment because suddenly everything happened I was fighting for all the years before and I went to prison for: the end of the SED government, getting human rights, free elections and freedom of speech. What is your best and your worst memory of the transition time? MM: The worst memory is of course the psychological torture in the State Security Prison. The nicest memories are the meetings with our opposition group in the basement of a church. We used to have discussions, meetings and also parties there. We could express our own opinion there. Do you think that certain developments or events in your or in other countries led to the fall of the Wall? MM: Yes, I think there was lot that came together: the “Solidarity”movement in Poland, the opening of the border in Hungary before the fall of the Wall in Berlin and the “Monday-demonstrations” in the GDR. Because of all those things the leaders of the GDR had no other choice than to open up the borders. Do you think that the fall of the Wall led to certain developments or events in your or other countries? MM: One can say that everything changed in Europe and maybe also in the world because of the huge shift of powers that resulted from the breakdown of the Eastern Bloc. This was also the reason why the British and French government were very sceptical about the German reunification because they were afraid of a new very powerful Germany. Break it down


To get a first impression about the different traditions of memory we asked the people to think about a symbol that is representing or referring to the transition time. Hervé Poncelet (France) The French is 45 years old and lives in Berlin since 1987. He works at the French cultural institute (Institut français). He used to live in West Berlin, in Kreuzberg, but worked in the East at the French cultural institute. HP: I think there are a lot of different events that represent the end of communism, such as the opening of the borders between Hungary and Austria, the protests in Leipzig every Monday evening, Gorbachev in Berlin for the 40 years anniversary of the GDR...and of course the fall of the Wall! Ewald (Germany) The German is 66 years old and has learned to be an engineer in the GDR. After he tried to cross the border to the West, he ran a restaurant. Now he owns a small store in Berlin-Friedrichshain. E: I think this could be expressed in the term “freedom” because this was the only thing we all were really looking for. We had no material problems in the GDR. One could live a really good life there but you always had strong desires. We didn’t have to worry about anything but we were still depressed. We were able to travel into the East but not to America or Australia, for example. Manfred Otto (Germany) The 77 years old is an actor, director and philosopher from the GDR. MO: The not accomplished reunification. 25

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Kriszti (Hungary) She is a 24 years old trainee at the Hungarian cultural institute (Collegium Hungaricum) in Berlin and interested in political science and cultural relations. K: I think that I would mention the Pan-European Picnic for a Hungarian person and the demonstrations in Leipzig for Germany. These are the most significant historical events for me which have lead to further changes regarding the political transition. Jakub (Poland) He is 31 years old and came to Berlin in 1992. With his jazz band he mainly tours in Eastern Europe. He is also the co-founder of “The Club of Polish Loosers” in Berlin. The name of the club is meant as self-irony which refers to the hopes of people from Eastern Europe coming to Western Europe in order to make a great carrier and money. The inside of the club reminds of GDR style and one might think briefly that the GDR still exists in that place. J: The picture of the Round table in Poland. I was 11 years old, when I was watching the news commenting that event on TV. I remember the excitement of my parents and of me which was so weird because sincerely I didn’t understand much. My parents had big hopes for changes at that moment. After that there was a feeling of anarchy on the streets. Nothing was controlled anymore; the police was not present on the streets. People felt a little bit lost in a new reality. Svetoslav (Bulgaria) She is 55 years old and works in a Bulgarian restaurant. She lives in Berlin already for 35 years. S: The symbol is the freedom itself - an unexpected freedom. A new way of live – it changed completely. Break it down


As one can observe there is no general symbol because of diverse processes the transition time consisted of. Nevertheless people imagined not only symbols coming from their own countries.

The next issue we asked about was if the fall of the Berlin Wall was the event which touched them personally or if they experienced that event as “an event of someone else”. HP (France): Even if I am French and was not living in Germany for a long time, I was very touched by this event because I was feeling that I was experiencing something that probably will happen only once in your life. MM (Germany): I was very touched by that moment because suddenly everything happened I was fighting for all the years before and I went to prison for: The end of the SED government, getting human rights, free elections and freedom of speech. E (Germany): Well, I wasn’t in any opposition group, but was very happy when the Wall fell on November 9th. On the other hand, there were so many things going on that I wasn’t able to realize them all. Things came thick and fast and I wasn’t able to retrace them all. MO (Germany): Personally, I think that the Wall was built without sense and also turned down without sense. In both cases humanity did fail. J (Poland): I went to Germany in 1992 because of family issues. My mother used to work in West Berlin before the fall of the Wall and I was visiting her several times and I remember this disgusting border there. That’s why the issue of the Wall was quite familiar to me. Of course it was rather a final event of a bigger process. There were so many things leading to the collapse of the communism 27

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but the fall of the Wall was still very important. I don’t think that it is an event which would be significant only for Germans. S (Bulgaria): The Wall was a horrible nightmare that paralyzed the people. Every day I felt that process of transition inside of me. It was a big joy for a lot of people in Eastern Europe. I remember that the TV program, a football match, was interrupted and they showed the news that the Wall was turned down!

On this question almost everybody felt personally touched and had the feeling that the fall of the Wall has been a mayor event that was embedded in a bigger process. This leads us to our next question: Do you think that certain developments or events in your or in other countries led to the fall of the Wall? HP (France): At this time everybody felt that this was an international event that would lead to many changes in Germany and all over Europe. It is very complex indeed; there was “something in the air”. Nobody, not even the political journalists, could imagine some months before that the Wall was going to fall and with it the whole Soviet system. Of course it was going to happen but in 100 years perhaps! So it was really a surprising event. E (Germany): Yes, I think the “Solidarity”-movement was very important, but also the so called Prague Spring in 1968. The most important development was probably the Glasnost and Perestroika of Gorbachev in the USSR. The processes and changes in the headquarters of the communist bloc encouraged the people in the so called satellite states. MO (Germany): The Glasnost and Perestroika of Gorbachev. J (Poland): Of course. The fall of the Wall was the achievement of all Break it down


Europeans. When I talked to my German friends they told me how important it was to read about all what was happening in Poland during that time. There were half-legal or even illegal newspapers being spread among the students in the GDR informing about latest news, protests in Europe, “Solidarity”. Sometimes exchanges of students were organized and that was an opportunity for German students to know what was exactly happening in Poland. S (Bulgaria): Yes, before the Wall was turned down Hungary had already opened up its borders to Austria and therefore it could have been foreseen.

Everybody except the French (no answer to the question) said that the fall of the Wall was not an isolated event. To summarize the general impression of all interviewed persons: “something was in the air”. The last question we asked was: Do you think that the fall of the Wall led to certain developments or events in your or other countries? E (Germany): Yes, my impression is that everything changed all over Europe. On the other hand, I think that the German case is a quite unique occasion because no other country unified with another state or something like that. MO (Germany): Of course there is officially more “freedom”. People are now able to travel were they always wanted to go but if you are not able to find to yourself in the present and local environment, the feeling of freedom people experience while travelling is just a drug that prevents you from thinking and recognizing yourself. K (Hungary): I can mention the new possibilities they had. Some of them could take these opportunities, others couldn’t. But some 29

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practical things became worse like the unemployment rate; the earned money wasn’t good enough anymore. I think that the most problematic thing regarding the change is that there was no real transition, just a swap of positions. The former communist leaders have huge economic influence in Hungary because during privatisation times they had the opportunity to gain enormous funds. On the one hand, it was a part of the new system so they could do it but it is still not proved whether it was legal or illegal. But I have a strict opinion about this. J (Poland): Yes, we have a new Europe now. S (Bulgaria): Yes, the life of the Bulgarians has changed completely, especially, in the matter of education, law, politics and everyday life. Abolition of communist “chains” gave more freedom to many people, freedom to do what they want. The greatest desire of mankind is to be free. Enabling import and export is of great importance to the economy. Different today is that some people are not afraid of the power of the government anymore.

The different answers we got on this question probably refer to the fact that there were winners and losers of the transition time. Everybody we asked was familiar to the matter of political transition. There was no one that didn’t know anything about that process. People from different cultural backgrounds mentioned different symbols of political transition. Therefore: political transition is not a uniform event with one symbol, one date, one hero but it’s a bigger process including many events that happened in different countries of the Eastern bloc. One could observe that people were not mentioning only the events or symbols from their own country. Examples: Matthias mentioned the “Solidarity”-flag as a symbol of political transition, and Kriszta mentioned the “Monday-demonstrations” in Leipzig. Break it down


That means that there were a lot of events which were leading to the collapse of communism and each country made its own path to overcome that system, but people are aware that the collapse of communism is an European event and everybody and every country had impact on it. Examples: Jakub told that he thinks that the round table is a symbol but he mentioned three times that the new Europe was created by all Europeans. People not always mentioned the fall of the Berlin Wall as a symbol of the political transition but they never denied the importance of that event. It was usually seen as a final event of a bigger process. Nevertheless, it always touched the people we interviewed, regardless of their nationality. Our interlocutors were not only talking about their own countries but mentioned the cooperation and the mutual influence of one country on each other. However, there was no revolution in the case of most Eastern European countries because a lot of ex-political leaders have never been called to account for their crimes and some of them still have political and economical power. So many people don’t feel satisfied. Capitalism has brought a lot of new opportunities to people and some of them could take advantage of them but others couldn’t. Those people couldn’t fulfil their expectations and some of them would want to go back to those times. They perceive it as a time with a high employment rate and sufficient salaries. In most of the cases, there was only a realignment of power instead of a whole reorganisation, and this could be the main reason of the bad current political and economical situation in the developing countries. To collect also very personal “bricks of memories” we asked our interviewees about their best and their worst memory:


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What is your best and your worst memory of the transition time? HP (France): Best memories: the masses, thousands of people crossing the border, meeting people I knew from the East in the West. Worst memory: people from the East coming to take a taxi to visit the Western part of Berlin, and the taxi men telling them that it was nothing for them on the other side of the Wall. E (Germany): The nicest one is the solidarity among the people living in the GDR. People really cared about each other and got together many times. This is totally gone in the present time. The most impressing moment was the day of the reunification on October 3rd in front of the German parliament. The (West German) national anthem was played and flags were raised at midnight. I am still shaking when I think about that. The worst is that humanity failed in the aftermath of the reunification. There was no solidarity anymore and many people were not able to handle the fast changes. Everything was getting really expensive within a very short time and many people got lost. MO (Germany): The nicest was that during the transition time, people were able to create a feeling of lively joy. The worst was that this joy and this positive energy have been destroyed. K (Hungary): I don’t really have memories of those times. The only thing I can remember is the feeling of the elections. It was quite amazing to see those colourful banners and posters. J (Poland): I remember the excitement and that everybody was talking about a “new Europe”. With all new things that were approaching; we didn’t know what exactly was going to happen. And one of my memories connected with the Wall was the strange feeling I had when I came to Berlin again to see my mother and the Wall I had been used to see was suddenly gone. S (Bulgaria): The worst was the forced security at the expense Break it down


of freedom. People felt much oppressed. They did not have any contact to the surrounding world. After the fall of the Wall many people lost their jobs. In 1989, there was no profit for the employees and working people. The bad memories are still alive within the corruption in Bulgaria. The political leaders stole a lot of money from the people. The best memory is that people experienced such a joy on November 9th. They were climbing on top of the Wall and the police could not do anything.

We define „transition time“ as the sum of the diverse processes that occurred and led to the collapse of the communist system in Europe. 2 SED is an abbreviation for “Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschland” (Socialist Unity Party of Germany). 1


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City mapping Iva (Bulgaria) Paweล‚ (Poland) Kata Kovรกcs (Hungary) Ana-Lena (Germany) Giulia (France) Mitko (Bulgaria)

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Creative writing Gosia (Poland) Kata Petővári (Hungary) Johannes (France) Tsvetelina (Bulgaria) Ewa (Poland)

What had really happened in 1989: It all began in this wonderful city called Berlin. The spring was coming up, freedom was in the air and the hearts were open despite the fact that it was fucking cold. People from five different countries just came to Berlin to have a project but in the end it turned out that they were going to be part of the history. Rain drops were falling down on the cold ground while in the mysterious minds of the participants it became more and more clear, what happened in each country in 1989. The Bulgarians had an argument about the existence or not existence of the economical crisis before the fall of the Wall. Who was right- we don’t know but one is sure: they all got very passionate. The French who actually haven’t experienced a communist regime on their own back thought that communism was not such a bad system. One of them tried to prove this in a very aggressive way, shouting all the time and messing around everywhere. The German hosts represented by participants from the East and the West side of the former Wall agreed on the point


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that the system was heavy and harsh and only harmed the nation. The pessimistic Hungarians complained about the TV program that they missed when the first freely elected prime minister died. From the Poles the participants got to know that they have started the changes on the famous Round Table. On the afternoon of the first day they had a great seminar. During the discussions they agreed about some points which made them argue before. It also turned out that one participant had his own vision of the history. It was this mean French guy with eyes that scanned their thoughts. He appeared to be the great enemy of the changes of 1989 in describing the fall of the Wall like a complete mistake which shouldn’t have happened. When all the participants partied together, he was not there and nobody knew what he was doing with his Two Little Nasty Guys. They were following their Master wherever he went because they knew that they were meant to invent a device that could change the course of history. The second day of their stay in Berlin turned out to be very successful. This day the group went sightseeing visiting all the places connected with the previous system like the Stasi Prison or the GDR Museum. They also enjoyed the sunshine and tasted the famous German beer. The participants found a wonderful flea market with interesting and fantastic things to buy. One man was trying to sell his wrack Trabbi. The Two Little Nasty Guys and their

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Master got very interested in that. They were looking at the Trabbi from all points of view and then bought it for a little amount of money. The whole group was wondering what for but they didn’t get the answer. One cloudy night without stars (because the sky was covered with the clouds) the participants were laughing in front of the hostel and deciding where to go next to have fun. In this very happy and joyful atmosphere they suddenly noticed that The Two Little Nasty Guys and their Master were not there and nobody knew where they were. The best group called Creative Writing-Group decided to look for them. They step into the cellar because it is a fictional story and in this kind of stories the cellar is usually a place where bad things happen. So they went down there and were very disappointed because there were only the screeching rats which were scared of the girls’ uncoordinated movements. They weren’t aware of what was happening in the other place where bad things usually happen in fictional stories- the attic. The girls came back upstairs where the group was having fun. Everybody was dancing with a broom and enjoying different kinds of drinks. They had simply forgotten about the Two Little Nasty Guys and their Master who were still missing. Suddenly, somebody noticed the boss of the gang entering the boys’ room. He looked as he had just come back from hell: he had a dirty T-shirt and scruffy jeans. All the eyes in the room were staring at


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him. Somebody asked: -Where have you been?! He simply replied: - Berlin is so beautiful at night. I was sightseeing! -Oh! But you look so dirty. Have you met some football fans of Hertha Berlin team? The bad guy looked around and answered immediately: - I fell on the ground and it was raining… That answer was a good reason to suspect this French guy of doing something secretly. - What about your friends? Where are they? -Yyy… Aaa…. Eee… Mmm…. In this very moment they entered the room, looking similar to their Master. The group didn’t ask any more questions because they knew the bad guys wouldn’t tell the truth. The party was getting hotter and hotter so the good guys ignored them. However, the girls from the Creative Writing-Group were too smart to be fooled. They used their charm and glamour to get one of the Two Little Nasty Guys successfully tipsy. When he was drunk enough, they

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asked: - So what have you been doing all night? He answered calmly: - Oh, actually nothing special. I was just building this time machine because we want to change the hist‌ Oh, no! I was just kidding! The smart girls realized what is going on. They also noticed that the other Little Nasty Guy who turned out to be not nasty at all was watching them drinking some Rakia. He looked confused and he set off to the balcony to smoke a cigarette. He actually didn’t smoke, it was just a sign for the girls to come. The smart girls were so smart that they recognized this sign. The boy made sure that nobody was watching them and confessed: -I am a spy. I know everything! The Two Bad Guys are trying to go into the past and prevent the Wall from falling as well as the whole communist system! We must counteract! The girls were shocked, but they stayed cool because they were so cool. One of them asked: - The other guy said something about a time machine. Is it done? -No, they need at least one more day to ďŹ nish it. We have to make another machine and follow the bad guy in the past.


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-OK. We will help you! The day after, the smart girls explained to the others what was going on. The best group got involved in the activity. It took only two days to create such a great invention, but it was not soon enough, because the bad guy was already in 1989. He wanted to turn his plans into reality. He was planning to find the person who will help him to approach Günter Schabowski. In this way he wanted to change the history, because this German politician said something significant on television. It was this key-moment when he would announce by accident on an international press conference that the borders between GDR and FRG will be open from now on. The bad guy wanted to avoid all this happening by killing him. That is why he bought a 100 Euro- bomb on E-bay in the time of 2009 and took it with him into the past. The person that he got into contact with was a guy who later occurred to be the uncle of a German girl who was participating in the project. When the best group landed in the past, they had no idea where to go. Suddenly, the German girl remembered about her uncle who was an important politician in GDR. - Let’s go to my uncle’s place.- she suggested. - Great! What a good idea!- answered the best group happily. Onkelstrasse 666- that was the address. The Onkel was very

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hospitable- the best group had an accommodation- everything was according to the plan. They explained to the uncle the whole situation, which led to the following dialogue: - Uncle, Uncle! You, as a reform communist can’t you see why it is so important to help us? - Yes, yes, you are absolutely right! I will help you! It would be my pleasure! Let’s do it together! Regarding this bad guy, I know he is planning to kill Schabowski tomorrow during the demonstration. He has got a 100 euro- bomb bought on E-bay. The most important day of recent European history- 9th November 1989- has just begun. The morning was foggy and windy but there was sunlight growing behind the clouds. People were ready to protest against the regime. They felt strong because they were united and determined. Hundreds of them were carrying banners and shouting messages to the authorities. The best group was also in this crowd. They were so lucky that they found the bad guy and kept on watching all his actions. Suddenly, one of them noticed that this evil man put the bomb under the stage where Schabowski was about to appear. The bad guy thought that he had won and started to laugh: - Uahahaahahahahahaha! The best group reacted immediately. They organized their actions


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and they knew that they had to do it fast because they didn’t have enough time. The faith of lot of people depended on their success. They couldn’t fail. They got through the crowd and under the stage, where the bomb was ticking. For a moment they were hesitating which wire to choose, but soon it became obvious- the red one. They cut it so the bomb was deactivated. Schabowski was no more in danger and could announce the opening of the borders on 9th of November 1989. The bad guy had no more weapons to kill him and no access to E-bay, because there was no E-bay at that time. The only thing to do for him was to see the fall of the Wall, the end of the communist regime and he suffered deeply. His evil plan did not succeed. He couldn’t even go back into the future because the best group was so smart, so cool and so fucking intelligent that they had stolen his time machine and stuck him in the past. When they returned to the presence they saw on TV and read in history books that the history hasn’t changed. They were so happy, so joyful and proud of themselves that they got drunk and forgot about everything. Their project was over and they had to come back home. At the railway station they saw this guy. Even though he was so dirty and much older, they recognized his evil eyes.

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Philipp von Breitenbach (Germany)

Barbara Derlak (Poland)


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Mitko Kamenov (Bulgaria)

Susanne Hauer (Germany)

Kata Kovรกcs (Hungary)

Johannes Braun (France)

Margot Weijland (France)

Pawel Kietlinski (Poland) Break it down


Dรกniel Kapi (Hungary)

Henriette Heimbach (Germany) Ana-Lena Schwesinger (Germany)

Kata Petรถvรกri (Hungary)


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Karol Wittels (Poland)

Tsvetelina Kostadinova Mitsova (Bulgaria)

Gosia Małocha (Poland)

Jonathan Maillach (France) Break it down


Gergely Kovรกcs (Hungary)

Iva Plamenova Penkova (Bulgaria)

Marton Pichler (Hungary)


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Borislava Kirilova Shopova (Bulgaria)

Giulia Dittmann (France)

Nikoleta Evgenieva Bayova (Bulgaria)

Ewa Grzegorczyk (Poland)

Marie-Sophie Perrotte (France) Photos ŠKarol Wittels Break it down


Programme 23.3. - 02.04.2009 „Break it down! How we remember the Fall of the Wall in Europe.>>>Collecting bricks of memory” Monday, 23.03.09 Welcome everybody! 15:30 Clubraum 2 •


Presentation of the Programme

Collection of the participation fee

Short break (5-10 min) •


Wishes, expectations, fears

18:30–19:30 dinner in the dining hall 20:00-21:00 Clubraum 2 •

Getting to know to each other

Tuesday, 24.03.09 9:15 Clubraum 2 •

Team- and trust building

Short break (5-10 min) •

Brainstorming and Preparation of the World Café

12:30-13:30 lunch 14:30 Clubraum 2 • World Café with experts Short break (10-15 min) •

Presentation of the working groups

18:30-19:30 dinner in the dining hall 21:00 Clubraum 2 (feel free to join!) • Get-together and games


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Wednesday, 25.03.09 9:15 Clubraum 2 • Energizer •

Presentation of the former “Waldsiedlung Wandlitz” (former residential area of GDR politicians) with Mrs Schmidt-Rathjen

12:00-13:30 lunch 14:00 walk to former “Waldsiedlung Wandlitz” (feel free to join!) • Meeting point: 13:45 in front of the youth hostel 16:30 Clubraum 2 • Presentation of the countries part I (2 groups) and discussion 18:30-19:30 dinner in the dining hall 20:30 Clubraum 2 (feel free to join!) • Intercultural evening (Please bring your materials/food/music with you!)

Thursday, 26.03.09 9:30 Clubraum 2 •


presentation of the countries part II (3 groups) and discussion

12:30-13:30 lunch 14:30 Clubraum 2 •

brainstorming and input about different forms of remembrance

Short break (5-10 min) 15:30 Clubraum 2 •

Collage “European memorial” (working in groups)

18:30-19:30 dinner in the dining hall 21:00 Clubraum 2 (feel free to join!) • Movie: “The lives of the others”, Germany 2006

Friday, 27.03.09 Please check out until 9:30 (luggage can be accommodated in Clubraum 2) 9:45 Clubraum 2 • Midterm evaluation •

First meeting of the working groups Break it down


12:30-13:30 lunch 13:45 departure for Berlin •

Meeting point: 13:45 in front of the youth hostel

16:00 check in youth hostel „Ostel“ •

address: Wriezener Karree 5,10243 Berlin, next station: Ostbahnhof

Free time 18:00 meeting point: in front of the youth hostel 19:00 dinner at the restaurant “Hundertwasser” • address: Krossener Straße 14, 10245 Berlin, next station: S Warschauer Straße

Saturday, 28.03.09 9:15 meeting point: in front of the youth hostel •

distribution of the packed lunches

11:00 sight seeing tour Berlin (feel free to join!) • start of the tour: 11:00 at the Starbucks near the Brandenburg Gate, Pariser Platz, next station: S Unter den Linden 13:30 meeting point: Weltzeituhr (world clock) at the Alexanderplatz 14:30 coffee and tea with time witness Matthias C. Melster • address: Kreuzberger Kinderstiftung, Paul-Lincke-Ufer 42/43, 10999 Berlin, next stations: U1 Kottbusser Tor or U8 Schönleinstraße • time for personal stories Short break (5-10 min) •

consultation of the working groups if needed

distribution of money for dinner and international cooking

Free time and free evening


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Sunday, 29.03.09 9:30 meeting point: in front of the youth hostel • distribution of the packed lunches 11:00 Visit of the GDR museum (feel free to join!) • address: opposite to the Berlin Dome, Karl-Liebknecht Straße 1, 10178 Berlin, next stations: S Alexanderplatz or S Hackescher Markt Afternoon: time for work in the working groups 18:00 meeting point: in front of the youth hostel 19:00 dinner at a restaurant

Monday, 30.03.09 The whole day is dedicated to the work in your working groups. We offer you a room and help, but you decide where you want to work • adress of the working room: Kreuzberger Kinderstiftung, PaulLincke-Ufer 42/43, 10999 Berlin, next stations: U1 Kottbusser Tor or U8 Schönleinstraße 13:00 lunch at the working room (adress see above) 14:00 Consultation of the working groups 18:30 international cooking Please bring the ingredients for the food you want to cook and the bills, so we can refund you! • address: Dorotheenstraße 26, room 300, next station: S Friedrichstraße

Tuesday, 31.03.09 8:30 meeting point: in front of the youth hostel 10:00 Visit of the “memorial Hohenschönhausen” (former Prison of the East German State Ministry of State Security) lunch included •

address: Genslerstraße 66, 13055 Berlin

16:30 Free time 19:00 meeting point: station Senefelder Platz (U2) Break it down


19:30 dinner at the restaurant “Pizzeria i Due Forni” • address: Schönhauser Allee 12, 10119 Berlin, next station: U2 Senefelder Platz

Wednesday, 01.04.09 8:20 meeting point: in front of the youth hostel 9:30 presentation of the working groups (20-30 min per group) Please bring all results of your workings groups, a projector is provided! • address: Institute of economics, Spandauer Straße 1, room 21a, next stations: S Alexanderplatz, S Hackescher Markt 12:30 lunch in the cafeteria of the institute 13:15 Evaluation of the project •

distribution of money for dinner

Afternoon: Free time 19:30 Meeting point for farewell party: Petit Laboratoire • address: Grünberger Straße 87, 19245 Berlin, next stations: bus 240 at Boxhagener Platz, S Warschauer Straße, S Ostkreuz 20:00 Concert of the band „Death on the stairs“ Have fun!

Thursday, 02.04.09 9:30 common breakfast in the breakfast room of the youth hostel •

distribution of the packed lunches

Individual Departure Please check out until 13:00! Your luggage can be accommodated.

Goodbye to everyone!


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An international youth exchange in Berlin and Wandlitz am See, Germany (March to April 2009).

In March and April 2009, 24 young people from Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, France and Germany met in Wandlitz am See and Berlin in Germany in the context of an international youth exchange organized by Bosporus-Gesellschaft. Together they learnt interactively about the transitions in Eastern Europe in 1989 and developed their own approach to these historical changes through interviews, creative writing, city mapping and photography.

“This project was a good way to learn about the history of the Berlin Wall, and how this event was perceived from Eastern countries such as Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria. In France we don‘t learn about their vision from this part of history. For my personal knowledge it was a huge enrichment. We worked on the important events from this period and it was funny to share it with people from other countries.” Guilia Dittmann (France) “I have to say that this project was an ideal mixture of getting to know other young people of other countries, getting to know the city of Berlin, and getting to know better not just other countries history, but the history of my country as well.” Kata Petővári (Hungary)

© 2010

Break it down! The fall of the Wall in Europe.  

Publication on an international youth exchange in March and April 2009.

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