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Wednesday 18.10.2017 | Name days: Rolanda, Rolands, Ronalds, Erlends
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This week marks 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUUnspeakable relief, overwhelming joy and happiness – these are the feelings people express when they recall the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9th, 1989. The end of this week will mark 25 years since the fall of one of the icons of Communism, which separated a city, a country and its people for several decades.

The border line that was called the Berlin Wall was erected August 13th, 1961, when GDR suddenly closed the border between East Germany and West Berlin. A fence nearly 155 km long was set up within 24 hours. 43 km of this fence ran through Berlin. Armed soldiers with dogs kept watch over the wall day and night.

In 1962, a second fence was set up to prevent escape attempts. In 1965, the fence was replaced with a concrete wall and ten years later – a 3.5 metre high reinforced concrete wall. The border was finally opened November 9, 1989.

«I was in Vienna and Berlin in 1989. I saw with my own eyes how border checkpoints were opened and people fled to West Berlin. I feared to go myself, as USSR still existed at the time. I had a Soviet passport and I didn’t know if I could ever go back. I had been to the capital of GDR many times and I saw how sad people looked like when they glanced at West Berlin from a café located on the television tower at Alexander Square,» – academic Janis Stradins recalls his experience.

«The feeling of internal freedom was knowing that we were slowly shaking the wall until it physically fell. The taste of freedom – it came every day since the Creative Unions Plenum in 1988. We made contacts in West Berlin and organized the first exhibition that year titled ‘Riga-Latvian Avant Garde’. The wall was still in place, but it was nonetheless a breath of fresh air for us, artists,» – says then the Chairwoman of Artists Union Džemma Skulme.

«Events in Latvia and Perestroika made us think – the fall of the Berlin wall was logical, even though many did not agree with this. Remoteness of West Berlin was absolute, residents’ stories about everyday life – nearly surreal. This why people’s coming to Brandenburg Gates had a symbolic reason,» – says Chairman of the Higher Education Council, Prof. Janis Vetra.

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