The Fall of the Wall
 german flag

Wednesday, 8. November 1989


For the first time in its history, the Politburo resigns as a group. However, the Central Committee unanimously reelects Egon Krenz to the position of General Secretary. In a speech, Krenz attempts a reckoning with history, in
the course of which - to everyone's surprise - he also criticizes his political mentor Erich Honecker.

In the afternoon, some 15,000 Party members gather in East Berlin to square accounts, sometimes in harsh words, with the old leadership. Politburo members Axen, Hager, Krolikowski, Mielke, Mückenberger, Neumann, Stoph, Sindermann and Tisch step down from the highest SED body. In new elections, three candidates lose out. Hans Modrow, Dresden's popular Party chief, is elected to the Politburo and nominated as candidate for the position of Prime Minister.

At the same time, civil rights activist Bärbel Bohley, founder of New Forum, receives confirmation from the East German Ministry of the Interior that her group has officially been recognized as a political force. This corrects the earlier decision that there was no need for opposition groups in East Germany. All districts are informed of the revised decision in Telex no. 52.

In the evening, author Christa Wolf, in the name of numerous artists and representatives of opposition groups, appears on East German television with a dramatic appeal to all potential emigrants that they rethink their decision and stay in the country: »What can we promise you? Not an easy life, but a useful one. Not rapid prosperity, but the opportunity to participate in great changes. We want to take a stand for democratization, free elections, legal security and freedom of movement. It is apparent that decades of encrustation have been broken through in a few weeks. We stand at the very beginning of fundamental changes in our country. Help us form a truly democratic society that preserves the vision of democratic socialism. It's not a dream if you work with us to prevent it being nipped in the bud. We need you. Trust yourself and those of us who want to stay here.«

The flood of emigrants has left significant gaps in the economy, which the government now tries to close with soldiers and members of the security services. The army provides 600 drivers for supply trucks; trained engine drivers, traffic supervisors and shunters from the military are assigned to civilian transport tasks.