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Genuine piece of the former Iron Curtain. © Ron Stern

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25 years “Fall of the Berlin Wall“ in 2014

Understanding dictatorship,
creating a better democracy

Genuine piece of the Berlin Wall at Villa Schöningen, Potsdam ©Ron Stern2014 is Germany's historic “commemorative year“. It is not only the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World war, and the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, but also the 25th anniversary of possibly the most important event in recent German history: The fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the division of Germany and Europe by the Iron Curtain.

The East German cities of the Historic Highlights of Germany are witnesses of the German division into two states after the Second World War. For many, the small GDR (German Democratic Republic) with the wall and barbed wire is long past. “For some East Germans, the joy at freedom turned into a fear of freedom”, explains Germany's President Joachim Gauck –  who was born in Rostock –  in an interview with the “Deutsche Presseagentur” (German Press Agency). For the majority of people, however, the objectives of the former civil rights movement were fulfilled. “We are a free country, we have fundamental rights and we are a constitutional state. This is what I lived without for 50 years of my life”, says Gauck. 

Rostock prison run by the STASI ©Sascha Mayerer25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, there is an increasing awareness and interest in the history of the GDR. Germans and travelers alike want to gain authentic insights into the time of the GDR between socialist everyday life and oppression.

The Historic Highlights of Germany cities of Rostock, Potsdam and Erfurt have preserved sites of the former dictatorship. Documentation centers and memorials are dedicated to this chapter of German history which produced incomprehensible things during the Cold War.

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