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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Fall of the Berlin Wall: German Jesuit: “We didn’t see it coming”

Largest remaining part of the former Berlin Wall - REUTERS
04/11/2014 12:47

(Vatican Radio)  As Germany celebrates the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the head of Vatican Radio’s German service, Jesuit Father Bernd Hagenkord, shared with Susy Hodges his own memories of that momentous event and assesses its wider historic significance.

Father Hagenkord was a university student in West Germany at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall and said the dramatic event took them all by surprise despite the anti-communist protests that preceded it:

“It caught us completely unaware… we didn’t see it coming, we didn’t see that there was a major change coming.”

When asked to assess the historic significance of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Father Hagenkord said the event mustn’t be viewed in isolation but was part and parcel of the much wider groundswell of opposition to the Soviet-led communist bloc that was taking place in a number of east European countries during that period.

“Berlin (the fall of the Wall) would never have happened without Poland, without Solidarnosc.” (the trade union that challenged communist rule in Poland).

Father Hagenkord also pointed out that the fall of the Berlin Wall took place because people had the courage to defy the governments and go into the streets to demonstrate for freedom.

“It’s a peoples’ movement, largely by Protestant Christians in Germany… people having the courage to say what they think.”

The Berlin Wall has come down but as Father Hagenkord reminded us there are many other walls that still exist or are being built to divide people in our world, such as the one in Korea, or in Palestine or those that are built to keep out refugees and migrants.

“There are more ruthless and more brutal walls nowadays .. and so thinking about the fall of the Berlin Wall today is also a reminder for me to think of the other walls we have."

Source: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2014/11/04/berlin_wall_fall_german_jesuit_we_didn%E2%80%99t_see_it_coming/1110099

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