The year of the revolution 1989 in monthly steps
Illustrated with photos of the Peaceful Revolution
For each day of '89, you will be able to find the relevant events that led to the end of the GDR in our detailed timeline..
Taken from "The Revolutionary Year 1989 - A Textbook with a Chronicle of the Year" of the Foundation Peaceful Revolution
Around 500 people take part in an unauthorized rally for reforms in the GDR on Leipzig's town square. When the demonstration started to move, security forces intervened and broke up the gathering. 53 demonstrators were arrested. In the evening, a prayer of intercession for those arrested was held in Lukaskirche. Prayers and protests also took place in several other GDR cities. In Prague, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Jan Pallach's self-immolation, there are mass demonstrations. The police cracked down brutally on the demonstrators.
In Halle, 40 people protest with a silent march against the shooting at the Berlin Wall.
The Christian Environmental Seminar in Rötha, south of Leipzig, registers around 12,000 signatures under the initiative "Eine Mark für Espenhain" (One Mark* for Espenhain), which calls for the immediate modernization of the neighboring Espenhain lignite processing plant. *GDR currency
The five-day final meeting of the Ecumenical Assembly for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation begins in Dresden with 150 representatives of 19 Christian churches in the GDR. GDR Defense Minister Heinz Keßler rejects calls for the introduction of civilian alternative military service. In Stendal, several anti-nuclear activists are arrested for distributing leaflets, including Erika Drees, a delegate of the Ecumenical Assembly. They are threatened with lawsuits for "interference with state activity".
According to official figures, 98.85% of the votes in the GDR's local elections are cast for candidates on the single lists. For the first time, opposition activists carried out nationwide inspections during the vote count, discovering and publicizing considerable electoral fraud. When the polling stations close, 1,500 demonstrators gather at the Leipzig market. The police intervene against a demonstration procession. 120 people are arrested.
A street music festival in Leipzig ends with a brutal police action. 114 participants are temporarily arrested. One participant is sentenced to six weeks' imprisonment without a court ruling under §214 of the GDR's penal code.
At an event in the packed village church of Berlin-Bohnsdorf, East Berlin writer Stefan Heym urges for more democracy in the GDR.
At the Stolpe/Heiligensee border crossing, an escape attempt with a tank truck fails.
The founding appeal of the "New Forum" initiative is published in East Berlin. It is signed by 30 civil rights activists from all over the GDR. Without prior consultation with the GDR leadership, Hungary opens the border crossings to the West to those in the country who are willing to leave the GDR. By the end of September, about 30,000 emigrants had reached West Germany this way.
The SED celebrates the 40th anniversary of the GDR in East Berlin at great effort. At the same time as the banquet, which was attended by numerous state and party guests, young people demonstrated on Alexanderplatz against the election fraud in May. Together with several thousand participants in the public festival, they then marched to the Gethsemane Church in Prenzlauer Berg and from there back to the city center, where the peaceful protest ended violently. Many are injured, numerous arrested and mistreated. That same evening, peaceful demonstrations also take place in Arnstadt, Dresden, Erfurt, Halle, Ilmenau, Karl-Marx-Stadt, Magdeburg, Plauen, Potsdam and Suhl. Most of them are brutally broken up, and over a thousand people are arrested. In downtown Leipzig, between 300 and 2,000 people attempt to demonstrate throughout the day. The security forces take brutal action against them. Almost 200 people are arrested and detained, among other places, in horse stables on the grounds of the Agra, which is intended as an internment camp for the "case of tensions". In Schwante near Berlin, 43 participants at a meeting in the protestant vicarage found the "Social Democratic Party in the GDR" (SDP).
East Berlin's city center experiences the largest non-governmental demonstration in the history of the GDR, with nearly one million participants. Among the speakers at the final rally on Alexanderplatz are the writers Christa Wolf, Christoph Hein, Stefan Heym and, as representatives of the new oppositional associations, Marianne Birthler, Konrad Elmer, Jens Reich and Friedrich Schorlemmer. Speakers such as Markus Wolf and Günter Schabowski are met with reservations and booed several times. Television broadcasts the events directly and unannounced. In Magdeburg, 40,000 people demonstrate, in Altenburg 12,000, and in Arnstadt and Potsdam several thousand. In total, people take to the streets in around 50 locations on this day.
In Erfurt, angry citizens enter the office of the former Ministry for State Security for the first time in the morning to prevent Stasi files from being destroyed as evidence. News of the occupation of the Erfurt office, now called the "Office for National Security," spread like wildfire throughout the GDR and lead to further occupations in the evening. In an "Appeal of Reason" prominent artists, scientists, churchmen and SED officials demand that the GDR government immediately involve so-called "citizens' committees" in investigating corruption and abuse of power. The GDR CDU, like the LDPD, leaves the Democratic Bloc and calls on Egon Krenz to resign from the chairmanship of the State Council and the National Defense Council. The SDP proposes May 6, 1990, as the date for free elections. Around 60,000 people participate in the evening demonstrations in some 60 towns, in Dresden, Karl-Marx-Stadt and Magdeburg respectively. In Leipzig, more than 150,000 demonstrators took to the streets.
by the Foundation Peaceful Revolution; with 57 contributions by well-known contemporary witnesses and journalists; 208 pages; EUR 19.89 incl. shipping costs
ISBN Number: 978-3-00-046724-0