November 9, 1989 is the date of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The story of what happened that night is extraordinary. For several weeks in East Germany there had been riots, and it seemed that the government had finally decided to allow visits to West Berlin and throughout Germany, but in fact there had been nothing concrete.
That day, November 9, 1989, a press conference was held by the communist leaders of the DDr. The conference is about to end when a journalist, Riccardo Ehrman, Italian correspondent for ANSA, asks the spokesman for the GDR government, Guenter Schabowski, a series of questions. The dialogue that took place in those few minutes made history:
“You talked about mistakes, don’t you think it was a big mistake to announce a travel law a few weeks ago that wasn’t such? Will you stop deluding the Germans into believing they can go to West Berlin? ” Schabowski, taken aback, replied: “East Germans can leave without giving explanations”. Ehrman pressed on with a second question: “Does this also apply to West Berlin?” “Yup”. And finally it was the last question that sparked off: “AB WANN? (SINCE WHEN?)”. “IMMEDIATELY”.
The conference live TV bounced that response instantly on thousands of television screens. Berliners from East and West poured into the streets, heading for the wall. The soldiers on guard, in front of this mass of thousands of people, could only raise the bars, letting the incredulous and jubilant citizens of the two Berlin pass through..
The wall, begun to be built on the night between 12 and 13 August 1961 to block the flow of citizens who emigrated from the east to the west, after 18 years, ceased to be an insurmountable barrier that cost the lives of many Berliners fleeing, becoming the symbol of an epochal change.
“Naked madness” is the autobiographical tale of a Berlin woman who lived that night firsthand; through Erika’s story we are transported through space and time, as if we were there, in that moment.
Our media today are constantly busy with news of the Pandemic, but despite this we believe that keeping the memory of these events alive is important precisely in the epochal period we are going through.
The fall of the wall was a conquest achieved also thanks to the struggle and resilience of thousands of people. The same resilience that has contributed, since the end of the Second World War, to rebuilding a European space of coexistence, democracy, law.
The values and energies that today we are called to put in place, to make the crisis an opportunity for change, are in continuity with these values of the past.