When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, it was I who caused it. I recently told Aelianus the story, and he urged me not to be modest but post it here.


Background: As a child, I was rather a convinced Young Pioneer, and, by implication, Communist. I had read many childrens’ stories about the Communist ‘Arbeiterkampf’ (Labour Movement?), of Ernst Thälmann and Clara Zetkin, and so on. I was firmly convinced that working people should not be exploited, I believed in peace and solidarity being promoted by the communist countries, I helped to collect waste paper to donate for earthquake victims in Armenia, or toys and clothes for children in Nicaragua. At less than 9 years old, I did not see the dark side of Communism.

A globe

Hence, on the 7th October 1989, the 40th anniversary of the foundation of the GDR, while cleaning my room, I was listening to the broadcast of the festivities in Berlin on the radio. The patriotic feeling rising in me prompted me, when it came to dusting my globe, to try and remove a speck of dirt that was there directly on the GDR (probably from people pointing, saying: ‘Here we are!’) I carefully moistened a bit of the cloth and rubbed – and suddenly, exactly the border between Western and Eastern Germany was rubbed off. After that, the end of the GDR came quickly.

Now, my mother, who, around the same time, broke our big bathroom mirror, claims she also contributed (breaking mirrors meaning ‘7 years of bad luck’). Clearly, however, this is rank superstition and can therefore be disregarded.