Berlin (dpa) – A week-long commemoration of the fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago was getting under way on Monday in the German capital, with more than 200 events planned.
The festival week will be officially started by Mayor Michael Mueller on the Alexanderplatz square, where hundreds of thousands of East Germans demonstrated on November 4, 1989 for freedom of expression and democracy.
The historic day will be brought to life with a theatre performance.
An exhibition along Berlin’s U5 underground line titled “Next Stop Freedom?” was also opened on Monday. Photos and texts in four of the line’s stations draw attention to Germany’s history in terms of freedom and democracy.
On Monday evening, a discussion on the repercussions of the Peaceful Revolution is scheduled in the German parliament. It is expected to be attended by Marianne Birthler, a former East German dissident who was among the speakers at the Alexanderplatz protest.
The iconic Brandenburg Gate, meanwhile, will be the setting for an art installation featuring around 30,000 ribbons with people’s wishes, hopes and memories, combined into a 150-metre long “freedom cloud.”
Demands made during the 1848 and 1918 revolutions, as well as the quashed 1953 uprising in East Germany, were fulfilled during the Peaceful Revolution of 1989, said Tom Sello, a dissident in the former communist East German Democratic Republic.
Under the slogan “7 Days – 7 Locations,” lectures, art installations, talks with eyewitnesses, information pavilions, films and exhibitions have been planned at the original Berlin locations of the revolution.
To mark the actual day when the wall fell, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Angela Merkel are expected on Saturday to attend a commemoration at the Berlin Wall Memorial.
A large stage show is also being prepared for that evening at the Brandenburg Gate, with speeches planned by Steinmeier and Birthler.