“Many small people, who in many small

places do many small things, can alter the

face of the world.”

–East Side Gallery, Berlin, 1990

As the Cold War began to thaw across Eastern Europe, the spokesman for East Berlin’s Communist Party announced a change in his city’s relations with the West. Starting at midnight on November 9th 1989, he said citizens of the German Democratic Republic were free to cross the country’s borders. East and West Berliners flocked to the wall chanting “Open the gate!”. At midnight, they flooded through the checkpoints. More than 2 million people from East Berlin visited West Berlin that weekend to participate in a celebration that was, one journalist wrote, “the greatest street party in the history of the world.” People used hammers and picks to knock away chunks of the wall – they became known as “mauerspechte,” or “wall woodpeckers” - while cranes and bulldozers pulled down section after section. Soon the wall was gone and Berlin was united for the first time since 1945.

The reunification of East and West Germany was made official on October 3, 1990, almost one year after the fall of the Berlin Wall.