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November 10, 2009 Permalink

The Berlin Wall, 20 years gone

Twenty years ago, on the night of November 9, 1989, following weeks of pro-democracy protests, East German authorities suddenly opened their border to West Germany. After 28 years as prisoners of their own country, euphoric East Germans streamed to checkpoints and rushed past bewildered guards, many falling tearfully into the arms of West Germans welcoming them on the other side. Thousands of Germans and world leaders gathered in Berlin yesterday to celebrate the "Mauerfall" - the dismantling of the Berlin Wall and German reunification - and to remember the approximately 100-200 who died attempting to cross the border over the years. Collected here are photographs both historic and recent, from the fall of the Berlin Wall. Be sure to pause on photos 12 - 15, and click them to see a fade effect from before to after. (38 photos total)

Smoke from fireworks surrounds the Brandenburg Gate quadriga in Berlin at the end of the official ceremony to mark the anniversary of the reunificiation of Germany, on November 9, 2009. (LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
more photos
This page lists only comments and the first photo for the entry.
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195 comments so far...

really nice pictures

Posted by Gavin November 10, 09 12:48 PM


Posted by casferrey November 10, 09 12:49 PM

#32 is a telling statement of the disregard our American President has for liberty. The only major western world leader to not attend.

Posted by Save Our Republic November 10, 09 12:50 PM

Great photos!

Posted by Tom Servo November 10, 09 12:51 PM


Posted by abigsliceofpie November 10, 09 12:56 PM


Posted by mrmalad November 10, 09 01:00 PM

In my opinion demolishing te wall, Was the biggest misstake ever made.

Posted by Rick Vogelschrik November 10, 09 01:02 PM

Beatiful images...
The ultimate feeling, the joy of freedom.

Posted by Daniel Alvarez November 10, 09 01:08 PM

at rick vogelsckrik
why do you have that opinion?

Posted by Gustav November 10, 09 01:12 PM

Superbes photos pleines d'émotions ! ©¿©

Posted by Gilles Daugenet November 10, 09 01:16 PM

And still there are many walls to tear down in the world...

Posted by doesn't matter November 10, 09 01:52 PM

#20. Wow. Finally, a peak at the truth. However, sad as it may be, most of today's youth would not know who the image to the right of Kennedy is.

Posted by John Doucette November 10, 09 01:54 PM

The before and after photos brought me to tears!

Posted by Kathy November 10, 09 01:56 PM

I think #33 is hilarious. Nearly everyone in the crowd is watching the fireworks through a digital camera viewscreen.

Posted by Julia November 10, 09 01:58 PM

#38 is quietly powerful and moving, and a superb choice for the final photograph.

Posted by Dan November 10, 09 02:05 PM

Comment #3: If Obama had come, it would have meant a lot less "liberté" for the spectators due to security measurements. This has nothing to do with his (existent or non-existent) disregard for liberty.

Posted by Hans November 10, 09 02:05 PM

Berlin ich mag dir!!

Posted by Shiro from japan November 10, 09 02:06 PM

Liberté j'écris ton nom (Paul Eluard)

Posted by auguste November 10, 09 02:08 PM

In response to #3, our President attended the funeral services at Fort Hood. He can't be everywhere at once.

Posted by Earth Beauty November 10, 09 02:11 PM

In picture 30, those are cellos, not violins.

Posted by JD November 10, 09 02:13 PM

In response to #19, he announced he was not attending back on October 16th. Weeks before Ft. Hood. Look it up.

Posted by dave November 10, 09 02:20 PM

at John Doucette

Why dont you use this as an opportunity to inform?

Posted by Patrick November 10, 09 02:24 PM

@19 I was going to post the same thing. Thanks.

Great pictures. How tempting are giant dominoes?

Posted by Isaac November 10, 09 02:25 PM

I was the at the Brandenburg Gate in January 1990 when the wall was still up. Great to see it gone. Wonderful pics.

Posted by Colin November 10, 09 02:26 PM

I remember that day and I was a dumb 15 year old punk teenager at the time... I remember thinking that the world had just become a better and safer place to live. 20 years later, and there are people plotting to rid us of the Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Press (non government controlled that is), and Freedom of Religion. Fight against those that would take your liberty. Fight like we all fought for the end of the Soviet Union and East Germany in the 80s.

Posted by Curtis November 10, 09 02:29 PM

I believe that in #32 photo, next to Hillary Clinton is the romanian president, Traian Basescu. You've forgot to mention him :)

Posted by bogdan b November 10, 09 02:30 PM

I can't believe it's been 20 years already...

Posted by AA November 10, 09 02:33 PM

Love the before/after photos! Wonderful to see such change for the better. Great set of photos!

Posted by Tomara November 10, 09 02:35 PM

@21, 3
"We are now moving towards the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down and Germany being reunified after so many painful years," Obama said. "And this is a special moment for Chancellor Merkel, as somebody who grew up in East Germany, who understands what it's like to be under the shadow of a dictatorial regime, and to see how freedom has bloomed in Germany, how it has become the centerpiece for a extraordinarily strong European Union."
-President Barack Obama
(Quote from a Fox News article)

Do these sound like the words of someone who "disregards liberty" (whatever that means)?

He is obviously well liked in Germany, and Clinton was there anyway. Not sure what the big deal is with his absence.

Posted by Isaac November 10, 09 02:36 PM

I'm sure if he hadn't been at Ft. Hood, you'd be attacking him for that. Can't we even celebrate peace in Europe without petty partisan sniping?

Herzliche glückwünsche zu den Deutschen, and to all who have emerged from totalitarian oppression.

Posted by Ben Rosengart November 10, 09 02:48 PM

Ich bin ein Berliner

Posted by Juan from Venezuela November 10, 09 02:51 PM

If I remember correctly the fall of communism in central/eastern Europe started in Poland, then there was Hungary and only after that the fall of the Berlin wall. But somehow, maybe because "the wall" is such a clear symbol, maybe because Germany is a more "famous" country, maybe because Germany put more effort into "advertisement" of that anniversary (MTV awards, concert of U2, etc.) than aforementioned countries, it is the German anniversary that gets all the media attention, which will, I'm afraid, end up with most people in the world thinking that it were the Germans that beat communism in that region.

Posted by Juan November 10, 09 02:58 PM

Goosebumps like crazy! Amazing photos, amazing event!

Posted by Carrie November 10, 09 03:06 PM

I was there.. froze my ass off.

But it was worth it.

Gorby got the most applause, he is the man that made this possible without any bloodshed.

Posted by Nico November 10, 09 03:26 PM

#30 You've made the assumption I think he should have been in Berlin, how petty and partisan of you.

Posted by dave November 10, 09 03:28 PM

Wunderbar! Very interesting historic photographs. Now look at e.g. the "Israeli West Bank barrier". In comparison with it the Berlin Wall looks almost childish. One could argue that the real importance of the Berlin Wall is symbolic. The Israeli Wall then is even more tragic symbol. Let us hope that it too will fall shortly.

Posted by augis November 10, 09 03:38 PM

@Juan, comment 32: in image 34, the first domino, which Lech Walesa is about to knock over, says "It began in Poland." Does that make you feel a little better?


Posted by Theo November 10, 09 03:40 PM

Nice pictures, but sadly the *after* picture of #12 is outdated as well. Brandenburg Gate has (fortunately) been closed for motorized traffic for years.

Posted by Norbert November 10, 09 03:58 PM

@ Juan. I think you cntradicted your own point. The fact is the wall was THE symbol of the divide between communism and the rest of Europe. It's fall is seen as the final deathblow to communism in Europe. Hence the reason it is celebrated more than Poland or Hungary.

Posted by Jim November 10, 09 04:02 PM

How utterly appropriate that Lech Walesa pushed over the first domino.

Posted by ceo November 10, 09 04:02 PM

@Juan (#32):
I think you miss the point.
Walesa was there to start the downfall of the dominos symbolizing The Wall. Can't imagine how to state the point better than that.

He is the symbol for the start and the downfall of The Wall is the symbol for the finally cracked Iron Cutain. The Wall was a kind of final frontier in breaking the Iron Curtain. After that there has not been any possibility to hold back people anymore. It was the culmination and the big last strike bringing freedom to east europe by reunifying the only nation that was parted by the Iron Curtain.
The process of establishing democraty isn't finished yet though in east europe.

BTW: Why shouldn't Germany celebrate the start of it's reunification and the people who did it - the people on the streets. In the end it was clearly celebrated as an european event.

Posted by JT November 10, 09 04:12 PM

if anyone actually read the news, you'd know that president obama was asked not to attend specifically because if he did it would have shut down many areas because of his security needs. this would have kept many people from seeing and/or getting close to the events.

Posted by fred November 10, 09 04:20 PM

Actually Lech Walesa and Miklos Nemeth (former hungarian prime minister) pushed the first 2 dominoes - one each side.

Posted by The Hun November 10, 09 04:29 PM

@Theo - yeah, it's a great thing I think, and it would be good, if only for educational reasons, if it was put into the note under this picture, along with some short explanation of what "it began in Poland" actually means. I think there was more things like that during all the celebrations and big thumbs up for that to Germans.

@Jim - I don't think I contradicted myself, I understand the strength of symbols and I put it as a one of the reason why it probably is like it is.

Anyway, I don't want to criticize anyone or argue "which country is more important". Only wanted to, let's say, "inform" about this "sub-plot of the story".

Posted by Juan November 10, 09 04:40 PM

Merci pour ces photos pleines d'émotion

Posted by alain November 10, 09 04:52 PM

In slide number 30, it's CELLISTS that are playing, not violinists. Please get it right!! :-) Great slide show though!

Posted by Daniel November 10, 09 04:52 PM

Such great pictures of such a great day!!!

Posted by Stefan November 10, 09 05:03 PM

@14 Julia, I noticed the same thing. "Sorry, can't enjoy the moment, have to make the millionth crappy mobile phone video to post it on youtube afterwards."

Oh, and on #15: I wasn't aware that they put back the iron cross and the eagle after restauration in 1990. I liked it better without the symbols of militaristic and imperialistic Prussia...

Posted by Schmierwurst November 10, 09 05:44 PM

you should do one of the Romanian Revolution in was the bloodiest,complex and insightful out of all the eastern european counties

Posted by git November 10, 09 05:54 PM

I've been there 1989, I moved there a few months earlier for my study. What an AMAZING experience! I've been there chipping fragments from the wall with hammer and chisel. I still have some fragments in a box. I love the fading pictures 12 - 15! Thanks for giving my memories the pictures I didn't take myself 20 years ago.

Posted by Siebbi November 10, 09 05:58 PM

comment #31, Ich bin ein Berliner (means: I am a custard filled donut) what Kennedy probably wanted to say was : Ich bin Berliner (I am from Berlin)

One wall goes down and another one or two goes up, Mexico/U.S border, Israel/Palestine, I believe you posted some great photos of both on this blog around 6 months ago, love the photo of the Trabants driving into west Germany.

Posted by Solange November 10, 09 06:08 PM

Isn't the guy next to Ms. Clinton the president of Romania? I wonder why he wasn't mentioned...

Great photos, I am so happy for the Germans - they were able to overcome this barrier and reunite. It is incredible how many lives were broken because of this wall.

Posted by Alex November 10, 09 06:12 PM


Posted by Gell November 10, 09 06:13 PM

Amazing moment.

Posted by Frederik November 10, 09 06:24 PM

in pic num 8 its calld " gettin owend"!

Posted by dwidoderally November 10, 09 06:33 PM

#30 hey, they are cellists, not violonists ! :(
(probably an hommage to Reostropovitch ?)

Posted by Francis November 10, 09 06:39 PM

@ Juan: to be exact: the demolition of the Iron Curtain started in Hungary with the Pan-European Picnic, but it's not the point the point is it's down.

Posted by skovalsky November 10, 09 06:44 PM

thats kinda cool

Posted by emily November 10, 09 07:21 PM

Thanks Mr. Reagan. The media may be ignoring your role in this, but millions of Germans are forever in your debt.

Posted by Joe Bobe November 10, 09 07:35 PM

Great collection of photos. Though I was too young to know anything, this photo set guides me through incident with feelings.

Posted by flummoxy November 10, 09 09:17 PM

The 9th of November is a really historical day for Germany!
11/9/1918 Gemany became a democracy . The "Weimarer Republik"
11/9/1923 Hitler tried to overturn the "Weimarer Republik"
11/9/1938 "Reichskristallnacht" Night of the Broken Glass(Anti-Jewish Pogrom)
11/9/1989 Fall of the Berlin Wall
A day of mixed emotions for us germans!

Posted by Stefan November 10, 09 09:21 PM

Freedom will always win in the end. Oppression will always fail.

Posted by Eric November 10, 09 10:23 PM

...and thank you to everyone who tainted this anniversary with their negative comments about who was or wasn't there.

Posted by amy November 10, 09 10:43 PM

I lived in West Berlin (or Westberlin) as the GDR authorities called it. I can't see these images without tears in my eyes for the most wonderful city I have ever lived in. I will be going back next spring to see how the old place is doing. It will be hard to leave the Berliner Luft again.

Posted by Paul November 10, 09 10:48 PM

See the happiness on the faces of the people. Freedom and Unity always be the keywords to Life...

Posted by Vaidy November 11, 09 12:10 AM

Thank you, everyone, positive and "negative," the euphoric, and those bittersweet like me, awed by this joyous anniversary while mourning those who did not live to see this great day... A friend of mine's boyfriend and his friend were among the many imprisoned for years after they unsuccessfully tried to escape. ONLY A FEW MONTHS or so before the Berlin Wall came down, after a prison guard taunted them that they would NEVER EVER EVER EVER again be free, the boyfriend's friend committed suicide in despair... So I look at these photos and remind myself, "Never give up!" but how could he have known the IMPOSSIBLE was soon to happen?!

Posted by nepojosemo November 11, 09 12:13 AM

great pics

Posted by Anonymous November 11, 09 01:00 AM

Happy anniversary Germany.

North and South Korea.. when will you be next? I look forward to that day

Posted by HT November 11, 09 01:13 AM

And what about Shengen Wall? When are you going to destroy it?

Posted by Ukraine is Europe November 11, 09 01:14 AM

Up, up, errichteten die Wände

Posted by BBK November 11, 09 02:07 AM

I had a chance to visit Berlin July 2009 ago. The first time I knew Berlin wall, I was wondering whether that wall is really2 the famous and historical one since there were a lot of graffiti :D But for sure, I enjoyed my time when I was there.

Posted by hanim November 11, 09 02:08 AM

These photographs are unbelievable and tell such a tragic story. I have never been to Berlin, but its a definite of my list of places to visit.

Posted by Janet Bragg November 11, 09 02:27 AM

Excellent! Love the fade out B & A photos!
Love the way they left the footprint of the wall in the streets...
Welcome to freedom...! Now get to work and pay your taxes!!
HA! Just kidding... But maybe not... ;-)

Posted by Sam November 11, 09 02:58 AM

stunning photographs!

my small contribution >>

Posted by ziolele November 11, 09 03:37 AM


Posted by reddragon November 11, 09 03:49 AM

Comment #51: "Ich bin ein Berliner" is absolutely correct. Wikipedia ( has a nice summary about this urban legend.

Posted by Lars November 11, 09 04:06 AM

I do #38 every day and yet it feels special every time.

Posted by Philipp November 11, 09 04:35 AM

Oh yes, when it comes to reunification I'm quite proud to be a (East)Berliner. Thanks so much especially for the before and after pics. Sometimes it's just unbelievable how much changed and they capture exactly that.

Posted by Christian November 11, 09 04:46 AM

#4 Strong image, full of meaning!

Posted by Luciano Stabel November 11, 09 04:51 AM

Where is Gorby?

Posted by Nick Sushkevich November 11, 09 05:04 AM

I wish for peace and freedom in much future.

Posted by Anonymous November 11, 09 05:32 AM

The before / after pictures are absolutely staggering!

Posted by Mario A. November 11, 09 05:39 AM

Good photos

Posted by prmedia November 11, 09 05:51 AM

Wow - the before and after pictures are great

Posted by Monika November 11, 09 06:20 AM

Great Photos. Hopefully we bring down more such walls around the world.

Posted by Harshal November 11, 09 07:04 AM

Simply Amazing. But its sad to know that in spite the wall coming down 20 years back, the people whom it was meant to divide are still divided.


Posted by Ankz November 11, 09 07:11 AM

Someone mentioned that young people would not know who is pictured beside Kennedy - I'm guessing Ronald Reagan. You might have at least told us.

Wow. I was too young to feel the impact of this 20 years ago but these pictures drove home the spirit of the times.

I listened to a great interview on CBC with an East Berlin woman who told her story of the the first few weeks after the wall came down. Some people didn't trust that it wouldn't close up again so they were afraid to go anywhere. Then there were others lining up for blocks in West Berlin just to get a cup of Coke!

Posted by chloe November 11, 09 08:20 AM

Fantastic! What a wonderful tribute to the human spirit!! Liberty and freedom will not be denied! Congratulations to our German friends on this truly happy anniversary!

Posted by utah November 11, 09 09:05 AM

Muy, muy emotivo, revisar en imagenes lo que sucedio hace 20 años, uniendo un pais y falmiliares separados por tanto tiempo.


Posted by Ana Maria November 11, 09 09:26 AM

Muy emocionante ver la caida del muro de Berlin, recordarlo y ver como se pudieron unir familiares y seres queridos separados por tanto tiempo.

Congratulations to our German friends......

Posted by Ana Maria November 11, 09 09:32 AM

@ 84

I'm sorry you feel that way. It's all in the people's heads and unfortunately I guess it will take one more generation to truly overcome the division of Germany. I live in Berlin, was born in West Germany and my family originates from both sides. Here in Berlin I don't feel anything friends come from both sides and noone cares. Sadly some old, dumb or just jobless and unsatisfied people will have a harder time to change their minds. Change your mind first! Love from Berlin

Posted by BerlinR November 11, 09 09:41 AM

"Ich bin ein Berliner"


Posted by Vengeance November 11, 09 09:57 AM

@ 91

with "I don't feel anything anymore" I meant separation. Of course living in this city makes it very emotional for me. Everybody, break down the walls in your minds and all over the world. Together we can do it. United we stand

Posted by BerlinR November 11, 09 09:58 AM

Congratulations Germany on the 20th anniversary of the destruction of this horrid wall. We Americans apologize that our president couldn't find the time to attend the ceremonies because he's too tired from going to Copenhagen to beg for the Olympics and still has to have time to plan his trip to Kenya next year. You can take solace in knowing that if Ronald Reagan was still alive he would have been there on his sick bed. Thank you President Reagan, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul II and Lech Welesa for their part in tearing down the wall!

Posted by Julie November 11, 09 10:15 AM


Posted by Adalton Moura November 11, 09 10:36 AM

fotos maravilhosas !! Brszil Teresópolis -RJ

Posted by D November 11, 09 10:56 AM

I lived in West Berlin in the 1970's and went back two years ago. I finally got what was so impressive about Under den Linden and the whole concept of a city center that had once existed and does again now.
The "then and now" pictures do great job of giving you the sense of jarred memory. We sat in one of the UBahn stops and reminincised about how the cars used to look , and up came some of the old cars from the 70s, all worn out.
The museum island, KuDamm, you name it.....Just a treat to go there.
Thanks for the great pictures.

Posted by alm November 11, 09 11:19 AM

It is more than time to now say the same thing Ronald Reagan said. But now to the new "Berlin" wall in Palestine.

'Israel, Mr. Netanyahu. Tear down that Wall."

The celebration of the downfall of the Berlin Wall is hollow, if this does not lead to tearing down the new, far more oppressive 'Berlin" Wall.

Posted by deshi November 11, 09 11:21 AM

Freude schöner Götterfunke

Posted by JR November 11, 09 11:29 AM

And our President could not even make the effort to attend. Tragic.

Posted by scott November 11, 09 11:41 AM

It can't be said better. "Ich bin ein Berliner"

Posted by Peter Greene, Carbondale, Colorado November 11, 09 11:57 AM

Continuons à battre ces murs pour la paix dans le monde....

Posted by HASSINA November 11, 09 12:29 PM

just amayzing

Posted by Anonymous November 11, 09 12:30 PM

God Bless Germany!

Posted by Gloria Velazquez November 11, 09 12:43 PM

oh....the 91 wa meant for 86 not 84. sorry

Posted by BerlinR November 11, 09 01:18 PM

While many of the commenters are comparing the Berlin wall to the Israeli wall, there is a profound difference. The Berlin wall was built by the East Germans to keep people in, to prevent them from escaping to freedom in the West. The Israeli wall was built by the Israeli government to keep people out, to prevent them from bringing bombs into Israel.

Posted by Ian H. November 11, 09 01:26 PM

@ 91 and 100

Obama wasn't meant to come. With him the whole security system would have been much worse and the Fest der Freiheit (Party of Freedom) would have been the opposite of he was told not to come. Instead Hillary came and his speech was transmitted via the Big Screen. It was very moving and the opposite of ignorant, so stop mourning about him. People in Germany are lined up behind him, so should you americans. For the first time since ages Europe is supporting an american president. With somebody like George W. something like the fall of the Berlin Wall would never have happened. Just my 2 cents

Posted by BerlinR November 11, 09 01:27 PM


Posted by JudyKMG November 11, 09 01:36 PM

Great photos. but how quickly history moves on and its significance gets lost. We are repeating the same thing now in Palestine, one day our children will look back at this event, just as I do on the Berlin Wall (I was born in 86) and think 'how could they'.

Posted by Kelli Rowe November 11, 09 01:49 PM

Where is Obama in 32? Shame on him.

Posted by David Greene November 11, 09 02:14 PM


please read the 107. thanks

Posted by BerlinR November 11, 09 03:00 PM

Der vog, der vog, der vogel ist der wort

Posted by Peitr Gryphen November 11, 09 03:45 PM

I have to agree with 106. All walls are not created equal! The Berlin wall was made to keep us East Germans inside our own country. It was called the "Anti-fascist protection wall", but the ones it was built against were actually on the inside.

Israel, however, has achieved a major decline of heinous, barbaric, cowardly suicide attacks on their own population. They'd rather not have that wall either, but it's necessary right now.

Posted by East German November 11, 09 04:49 PM

Surely photos 16 & 25 are references to the Wim Wenders movie "Wings of Desire" - "Der Himmel über Berlin", literally "Wings over Berlin" - no?

Posted by adrian November 11, 09 06:57 PM

Great photo!
and there is new East Berlin which is china!
The Berlin Wall which you cant see by your eyes ,because it into everyone 's brain!
welcome to china welcome to new Esat Berlin!

Posted by kk November 11, 09 07:19 PM

I can not believe it has been so long. It seems like yesterday. I was watching it on the news in Amerika and I knew I would be finally able to meet my cousins for the first time. Growing up in West Germany without part of my family always felt like I was missing a part of me. Now we are all free.What a wonderfull feeling.

Posted by Claudia November 11, 09 08:00 PM

I lived there in West Berlin just before the fall of the wall and returned there a few years later. I've always loved Berlin. Berlin has been representing a decisive part of my life and as long as I will live, I think I feel I take part to the World History. Berlin is nowadays in perpetual progress and I'm tending to live with that aim too. Berlin is the most popular state in Germany for artists and architects. I can afford saying about me: Ich bin ein Berliner! Mindestens fühle ich mich als einer davon!

Posted by Laurent-Bruno Schrub November 11, 09 08:07 PM

#34. "Gorbachev was a visionary like Hirohito was a visionary after Nagasaki"
--P. J. O'Rourke.

#107. ...wasn't meant to come.. Odd that Pres. Obama found time to visit Berlin when he was running for the office... that he found time for the Copenhagen Olympics debacle...that Bundeskanzler Merkel invited him to attend the celebrations...tha Messrs Sarkozy and Brown, also heads of state with security details, found time to attend...

Posted by furious November 11, 09 09:18 PM

But 20 years later we still cant go to Mexico easily. They have to pay about $1000.00 a yr to have visas and papers to travel here to help us with health care, WHY, I think we should all be able to travel to all countries with passports of course. BUT WALLS come on.

Posted by Kevin November 11, 09 10:09 PM

Was in London as the wall was coming down. English news commentators were very fearful the wall's demise would mean a reunification of Germany. Almost sounded like today's FOX.
It was a time to celebrate the last phase of communist controls brought about by MANY people AND the over-wrought Soviet military/empire bankruptcy. Some people were in the right place, at the right time, to take credit. Let us not be petty about the finite details of ideologies and partisanship crowding the fringes of an historic event and its 20th anniversary with such a magnificent slide show.

Posted by HJ BOTT November 11, 09 10:26 PM

Freedom comes with a price!!

Posted by Fabian November 12, 09 12:16 AM

great pics and good game

Posted by mani November 12, 09 01:49 AM

Amazing pictures. Nevermind the politics, let's just think about the people who lived divided for so many years and finally reunited. I don't think most of us can even imagine what it must have felt like to live in a city with a wall built in. Just the idea of it makes me shudder. Unity is what we need and unity is what the fall of the Berlin wall gave us.
Thank you.

Posted by tere November 12, 09 03:21 AM

Now how about rip down the illegal one in Israel!

Really impressive set of photo's here.

Posted by Dave Sanchez November 12, 09 04:28 AM

Not other walls that seperate the people!

Posted by Andreas Papastamou November 12, 09 06:47 AM


This is like totally awwsome. That was some party,

In history class we were told that this wall was the only man-made object vizible from outer space. It is messed up that those vandals destroyed it.

In America we'd just shoot them, teach them a lesson. That's because we're free to shoot mo-fos who are destroying out property.

Posted by Randy / The U S of A November 12, 09 08:13 AM

very sad story

Posted by khalid ali November 12, 09 08:16 AM

Thank You Ronald Reagan!

Posted by David G. November 12, 09 08:50 AM

Danke Ronnie!

Posted by Bruche November 12, 09 09:30 AM

Picture #38, despite its simplicity, is perhaps the most awesome picture on this entire page. Thinking about how much a problem it was to attempt to get away from East Germany - death and violence and oppression - and now simply being able to walk across where the wall was is so very powerful.

Posted by Kevin November 12, 09 09:38 AM

@ 126

oh should have been more attentive in history class. the only man-made building visible from space is the chinese wall :)
and you calling the people vandals?!...can't you even imagine what relief it must be for the people imprisoned for 40 years to finally tear down that wall?!

Posted by Chinese November 12, 09 10:33 AM

Reagan is hardly mentioned. Good job rewriting history.

Posted by Shane November 12, 09 11:03 AM

I was born at the east part of Germany and I am really happy about the "Mauerfall". I was too young to realize what is going on November 9th 1989, but listening to my family`s stories about this happening makes me feel relieve that I grow up in a non-seperated Germany, even if it needed a long time to destroy the wall in people`s mind! Untill NOW!

Posted by Dana November 12, 09 12:46 PM

I can't believe how liberals are trying to erase President Ronald Reagan from the Cold War. Gorbachev didn't make this possible, Ronald Reagan did. If Gorbachev had his way, that wall would still be there to this day. When Reagan refused at the negotiations in 1988 to back down from SDI, he essentially relegated the Soviet Union to the dustbin of history. He won the Cold War that day. The rest was just what you might call paperwork. One year later, the Soviet Union was no more. Reagen is Berlin's hero, not Gorbachev.

Posted by History Nut November 12, 09 12:57 PM

@131 You should have paid more attention to astronomy class, the great wall of China is not visible from space, . Oops.
As far as responsibility for starting the end of communism in Poland (and the rest of Europe for that matter), let us not forget that Pope John Paul II was the inspiration for Lech Walesa, and his Solidarity movement. People can say what they will about religion, especially Catholicism, however, Pope John Paul II, (himself a survivor of Nazi repression in Poland during World War II) played a vital role in gaining support not only from those who were deprived under brutal communist regimes, but from the international community as well. What he accomplished is nothing short of a miracle with how a faith inspired revolution won its battle against communism in the hearts of the people, and not through bloodshed on the fields of Eastern Europe. So there's a brief history class for you @ 131.

Posted by Rich November 12, 09 12:57 PM

Born in 1967 in West Germany and most of my relatives living in East Germany it has been an incredible day to see The Wall coming down I have been standing at so many times on both sides, in East and West Germany! When I told it to my mother (being born in East Germany) in the evening of Nov. 9th she first did not believe me and thought I am kidding.
It was astonishing to see how soon the former grey and dull surroundings became colourful and most peoples minds changed from fatalistic to joyful.
If you never had the chance to see the differences yourself you can only hardly imagine what has been and is still going on.
I am happy to have taken part in this time of German history and hope it will be an example for other conflicting parties to finally settle down in a peaceful cohabitation.

Posted by nischwa November 12, 09 03:14 PM

Congratulations Germany for the United freedom

Posted by Wim Janssen November 12, 09 05:53 PM

O muro de Berlim caiu, mas no lugar dele continuamos a construir outros muros entre nós. Também em Israel, no Paquistão, na China, no Rio de Janeiro...por quê não usamos o mesmo material para construir pontes?
Que Deus nos ajude.

Posted by Juliana Georg Bender November 12, 09 06:31 PM

The Fall was a great event. The celebration was bittersweet though when you know that the three individuals who loom large in this particular milestone could neither attend nor are with us anymore: Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and John Paul II.

Posted by John November 12, 09 09:06 PM

I was in Berlin in February 1989 and had a chance to see the contradiction between East and West Berlin. I am also a German teacher in Massachusetts and will use these photos in the classroom. Sehr schön! These bring back some great memories!!

Posted by Matthew Ruppert November 12, 09 10:02 PM

I was so lucky to be in Berlin October 1989, the begining of the end, and went back in 1990, Russian soldiers were still around, abandoned by their superiors and selling their hats, medals and uniforms to curious visitors like me.
What a great end to such a horrible nightmare.

Posted by Carlos November 12, 09 10:12 PM

Solange (comment #51): Stop spreading that silly urban legend. A "Berliner" can mean both a donut and a person from Berlin. Further, "Ich bin Berliner", would not have made sense because that implies that the speaker is *from* Berlin. "Ich bin ein Berliner", makes perfect sense, especially when you realise that people from Berlin don't even call donuts "Berliners" anyway.

Educate yourself before diminishing others, okay?

Posted by Matt November 13, 09 03:23 AM

Julie (comment #94): First, Obama was asked NOT to come due to the heavy security his presence would have demanded. Second, why are you thanking Margaret Thatcher, of all people? She never wanted the wall to come down! She (and Mitterrand) pressured Gorbachev to NOT tear it down because they didn't want Germany to reunify and regain its powerful, economic position in Europe.

I'll give you the same advice as the previous poster: try educating yourself before posting, okay? Oh and keep your partisan rubbish out of it. Nobody cares.

Posted by Matt November 13, 09 03:29 AM

Aprendemos a dar importancia a diferencas mas nao percebemos a nossas semelhancas. Vivemos no mesmo planeta e ainda somos estranhos no mesmo ninho, procuramos Ets e Cometas mas nao conhecemos os nossos vizinhos. Que vida essa minha, que vida essa sua, o homem a lua mas a guerra continua...

Posted by My name is Mud November 13, 09 06:03 AM

Germany germany! How you have suffered!
Find your old national pride and prosper!

Posted by Europe November 13, 09 01:57 PM

vent'anni fa cadeva un muro. uno dei tanti, ma era un simbolo. oggi la gente fa festa, ignara. dei muri nuovi che nascono ancora. muri religiosi, razzisti, discriminatori. viviamo in questi vicoli stretti, circondati da mattoni che ci separano da islamici, africani, cinesi, magrebini, omosessuali, comunisti, anarchici, giovani, donne. muri di pensieri ben più alti del cemento. fino a che non cadrà questa babele morale di egoismo, ignoranza, paura indotta, non ci sarà nulla da festeggiare. l'unico confine difficile da attraversare è dentro di noi.

Posted by LaPo November 13, 09 02:03 PM

@ 135

I don't know why you react so upset...I just responded to some other guy who mistakenly said the Berlin Wall was the only man-made building on earth, which clearly is wrong. Like most of us he must have meant the "urban myth" of the chinese wall, even if it may be actually untrue. Thanks for mentioning Lech Walesa and John Paul II, even though I know already about our history...I'm from Berlin myself.

Posted by Chinese November 13, 09 03:01 PM

impressive pictures, I have seen this great project in Germany, they are developing the largest online mosaic for the BerlinWall
I have seen my pictures there, too.

Posted by chris November 13, 09 03:38 PM

re comment #51:

You can say, "Ich bin ein Berliner" - and I happen to be one - in the same way you can say, "I am a Londoner". There is grammatically nothing wrong with what Kennedy said. If a woman had said it, she would/could have said, "Ich bin eine Berlinerin", using the female noun.

Can we now, after 20 years, move on please?

A terrific collection of images. And the "fade" feature is *very* neat indeed.

Thank you very much . Great job. As always.

Posted by Robert Zimmerman November 13, 09 04:24 PM

It started in Poland

Posted by JJ November 14, 09 06:34 AM

Si bien la caída del muro significó para los alemanes del lado comunista un gran acto de libertad, sabemos bien que el capitalismo también está en crísis y que el mundo no es más libre que durante la guerra fría, acaso habrá que pensar porque una minoría selecta del mundo consume mucho de lo que la gran mayoría de la tierra tiene como necesidades primarias. Lamentablemente hay muchos otros muros y no solo de piedra en la tierra.

Posted by Darío Valle November 14, 09 01:11 PM

Wow! Picture 15!

There's a graffiti visible I mate with some classmates. Left of Rotary Tex, we copied the album cover of Lou Reeds Transformer. Cool to see it so well!!

Posted by BJ November 14, 09 03:09 PM

Let me get this straight, if it weren't for the "Good Ole' USA" That wall may very well still be there. We, The United States are solely responsible, without any help from the rest of the world, for knocking that wall down. Our military strenth broke the USSR and hence the wall came down. NOW, the Germans and Europeans in general all hate us and think we are a horrible country and we have to apologize for all our actions????? No thank you's coming from Germany, just alot od hate towards us. I wish we had never done it.

Posted by Erich Koehler November 14, 09 06:44 PM

@153 Holy smoke, get over yourself. Read a book for once.

Posted by amy November 14, 09 10:38 PM


Posted by Mike November 15, 09 03:42 AM

I hope you are as proud for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Give me a break. The US had a major role in the wall coming down, but no one in this world can take ALL credit just because you say so. Really, get over yourself.

On a happier note, although I was only two when this happened, and I was standing on the 'wrong' side of the wall (in Romania, to be exact) these pictures make me shiver (also considering we had our own Revolution just a month later). It is amazing how people can actually decide to build walls to keep other people in (it is, by the way, the only wall ever built with this purpose). Picture 38 says it all...

Oh, and our president is in pic 32 :)

Posted by Bianca November 15, 09 06:24 AM

I was a little soldier in Germany @the time the wall went up in 1961.
I have pictures of the org. check point ch. and the org. berlin wall.
The time was hard and cold. I as Afr. amer stood guard over Ger. while every one else was asleep.
oh do i have a story to tell.

Eddie L. Smith Ret E-9

Posted by Eddie L. Smith November 15, 09 01:05 PM

@ 157
ehi Eddie L. Smith Ret E-9 give us your photos.thanx

Posted by partigiano italiano November 15, 09 08:33 PM

well that was very good and it show how it was i just hope all of you in Germany are so please that you are all free godd bless you all

Posted by Brian November 17, 09 08:56 AM

Great photos.

But the end of the rich Western Europe. From 1989 until now the eastern europe criminals come with hundreds and hundreds to steal from the west. Also the workers (electricians, truck drivers, ...) come to do our jobs for less money.
Since then West europe becomes more poor and the east more richer.

Close the borders and the 1 big europe.

Posted by Pol November 17, 09 11:39 AM

Coming from Colorado in 1983 to go rock climbing near Dresden, my teenage friend and I, age 19, found the graffiti we both liked the most: For me, MILLIONEN TOTTEN BULLEN (Millions of Dead Cops, or MDC, the US music group), and for Jeff, large scrawled letters half the height of the wall NO FUTURE.

We took photos of each other "buildering" near these messages: Living in relative freedom in the West, we had the privilege of pretending to climb over the wall.

How wrong that No Future artist was.

Posted by Eric November 18, 09 01:51 AM

#8 historical photo, why didn't I see this one before? The soldiers are looking at the hand and you can see them thinking.

Posted by Ryt November 18, 09 05:06 AM

Great pictures! Eventhough I was only 11 by then, I remember very clearly every image I saw on TV! Of course I didn't realize how important they were by that time! Humanity should be proud, it does not matter who did it or who impulsed this great change in the world.... In the end it was a triumph for humanity.
However, sadly I have to agree with those who say that the wall has fallen, but new "invisible" ones are being built. We should never forget history to avoid making the same mistakes...

Posted by Natalia November 18, 09 07:32 PM

Good work!

Posted by jobs November 19, 09 03:43 AM

beautiful but lots of tears are shed over this...

Posted by Pradeep November 19, 09 05:29 AM


Posted by prinz November 19, 09 01:12 PM

I visited East Germany in 1989 before the Wall came down and I can still remember the acrid smell of high sulfur brown coal and the gray green beans in the store windows and the gaunt, expressionless people methodically moving up and down the streets as if in a dream.
After coming home I rode the El in Chicago and realized that most of Chicago and most of East Germany had not had any serious infrastructure investments made in them since the 1930's and the buildings looked exactly the same with bullet holes, broken windows, abandoned rusted vehicles everywhere and gaunt, expressionless and unhappy people. So don't get too proud of yourselves, Americans. East Germany is horrible only when compared to West Germany, not when compared to South Chicago. That comparison was a wash. Nowadays, South Chicago is the king of dilapidation and ramshackle champion of the world.

Posted by realist November 19, 09 02:50 PM

Great pics. Just a nitpick - #30 shows 'cellists, not violinists. Not important, but its my instrument, so I like to see it credited.

Posted by Yojimbo November 19, 09 04:56 PM

HPER Discovery come marker.
Welcome to the last one is also pulled down.

Posted by chn November 20, 09 08:58 AM

Berlin ist super!

Posted by Tyler November 22, 09 03:47 AM

Mikhail Gorbachev deserves considerable credit for allowing the East Germans to make their own decisions without any Soviet interference. His role along with the roles of many were crucial and no single person can claim all of the credit for what happened in 1989. Some of th eAmericans who have written here should perhaps remember the bravery of the East Germans themselves who turned out night after night in the then GDR to demand the right of self determination despitre being confronted by troops with live ammunition and backed up by the Stasi. People do not hate the US but do dislike the American propensity for clainming credit for everything.

Posted by John Farrington November 24, 09 02:46 PM


Posted by JOSE GABRIEL HERNANDEZ TRUJILLO November 24, 09 04:14 PM

Excellent peace of both the coun tries coming together

Posted by Hari.C.S. November 25, 09 04:46 AM

it's verry good

Posted by rahmatdoni December 1, 09 11:16 PM

For @94, @135, @139...

Berlin wall - great symbol of Europe divided by German Nazism and Russian Communism.
Who broken this wall at most? American President Ronald Reagan, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Polish Pope John Paul II and Polish "Solidarity" movment with his leader Lech Walesa.

And what about Germans? Ministry for Communist State Security "Stasi"?

It looks like Germans always are good, kind people, always cooperate with their goverment. Like during genocide III'rd Reich of Adolf Hitler, when nobody was against, so during anti-human DDR of Erich Honecker, when all was 'pro', only these impolite Poles and their "Solidarity" thought they could win with Communist power from Cremlin, managed millions soldiers and taking hand on nuclear button.



Posted by Enrique December 1, 09 11:40 PM

The art on the wall is incredible!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Rachel Dickson December 4, 09 04:52 PM

The art on the wall is incredible!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Rachel Dickson December 4, 09 04:53 PM

In 1989 tens of thousands of east german protesters were on the streets being closely watched by the same number of armed east german police men and the russian army. It's hard to imagine what would have happened, if people were killed. We all should be happy and glad about the peaceful fall of the wall. We were very lucky.

Posted by gerbre December 11, 09 04:59 PM

I like the images you have chosen.
They are meaningfull.

Posted by José M. Núñez December 19, 09 01:43 PM

So wonderful and yet so sad -- that this had to exist at all. Also, so sad that our President Obama did not see it as being as important as it is/was. I am happy that Hillary R. Clinton was able to attend. f# 12/24/09

Posted by Francene Sharp December 24, 09 03:28 PM

God is good.

Posted by Randall Hinders December 27, 09 11:27 AM

ого... вот оно как было.

Posted by Kapu December 29, 09 05:09 AM

The generations of germans who experienced the wall will never be united, due to raising up in a completely different system, education and lifestyle. Well, the next generations MAY be united. But at the moment we are enjoying wealth that we cannot afford, enjoying a lifestyle that we cannot afford. We are forgetting how many people had to die to achieve this, in two world wars and the cold war afterwards. And the next generations won't be able to imagine the pain of the 20th century, because all the one's who could tell them - from their own memories and experiences - are already dead. It truly is remarkable what our people did there, 20 years ago, but the western world is becoming a capitalistic dump where the single person is as worthless as in any other dictatorship. And the rest of the world does its best to follow the example.

Posted by Anonymous January 16, 10 07:58 PM

Appendix: Half of my ancestors are from Ostpreußen and were banished - so I wouldn't even exist without this twist in history! 1 out of 4 of our ancestors were banished from the eastern regions, so today's germans should look at their family tree, should discover themself how much suffering happened in their own family! And then they should just TRY to imagine what our ancestors did to others! And THEN they should think about, what mindless life we are living today! And what fortune it is to be able to do so!

But honestly, I think this is just a period of peace and wealth. The next war WILL follow. Maybe for resources, maybe for power. It is just a matter of time, but WW3 will go beyond the scope of all former wars. History's repeating, you know.

Posted by Ikza Zelebifza January 16, 10 08:43 PM

WOW What a historic moment

Posted by Luis Laviena February 19, 10 04:06 PM

I'm old enough to remember when President Kennedy made his famous comment about being from Berlin -- and just old enough to remember how sad we felt when the wall went up. Anyone else remember the airlift that fed Berlin when the Russians cut off the entire city?
Still, the relevant quote is from Reagan, not Kennedy: "....TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!" Reagan, Pope Paul and Lech Walesa brouht down the wall.
IMN SHO, they won the cold war.
My oldest son was an exchange student in Germany when the wall came down. He says the best comparison between east and west was this: East germany was in grey, West Germany was in color.

Posted by Larry Lawton March 31, 10 02:41 PM

cute pics i lik it

Posted by shantoknowa benbow May 24, 10 11:54 AM

It is joyful to see Germany united. I was in East Berlin in 1983 and april 1989 before the fall in october. I came from Cuba and found people in a bar telling me of the plan to destroy the wall. I saw people in freedom at the Branderburg gate and wished I was free soon. At the tv tower everybody was looking at west Berlin. I found a hole in the wall at Gander, Newfoundland, in scale and asked for asylum. Viva Germania!

Posted by Andres Suarez Manso August 13, 10 10:15 AM

I lived there for 5 year of my life. I love Berlin.

Posted by owen August 13, 10 10:15 AM

wow thats alot lol im suprised by how much action took place.

Posted by mandy October 2, 10 06:49 PM

I am a USAF veteran.At one time Berlin was a real hot spot.So glad to see Germany together again would love to see Berlin again as one city.

Posted by Clarence Pearson October 10, 10 11:00 PM

Photos with history, when you look at these pictures, you can understand and feel every emotion, every feeling... That's what photography is about, showing not just beautiful pictures, but using pictures to keep moments, not just the image, but the whole thing, and using it to pass through the capturated moment... We miss it on nowdays, but I could see it here! just amazing! Congratulations!

Posted by Fabio Henrique Lütz November 12, 10 11:26 AM

A victory for freedom and the human spirit.

Posted by David Lhuillier November 18, 10 05:49 AM

You conservative mean to suggest without Reagan, the USSR wouldn't have collapsed on its own? You mean to suggest the communist system was running just fine but for one arch enemy who tactically outspent them on starwars and Afghanistan?

In reality, Reagan was a man who lucked into the right place at the right time more than anything else. There's been a truckload of rewritten history since.

Posted by reality December 5, 10 04:31 PM

Thank you for this web tribute to the 20 Year Anniversary of the Berlin Wall. The fall of the Berlin Wall led to an end to the communist rule in East Germany and later on the reunification of East and West Germany. I was stationed in Okinawa, Japan serving in the United States Marine Corps at that time. I remember the event as though it were yesterday, and I thank all the collective people and their respective nations involved to bring to past this historic event, and I look forward with faith that we will see many more similar events unfold since, today, and into our future.

What a terrific collection of images with some of them having a fading feature that really puts the feelings and emotions in perspective for all to view. Truly all must view this and other sites that allow those that lived during, but more importantly, for those generations that have and will continue to be born lest they forget we will be doomed to repeat.

Thank you very much, what a wonderful job.

Eric "Fitz" Fitzsimmons

Posted by Eric Fitzsimmons April 28, 11 04:57 PM
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