Muskoka Post Staff
According to the History Channel at a press conference on the evening of November 9, 1989, East German politburo member Günter Schabowski prematurely announced that restrictions on travel visas would be lifted.
When asked when the new policy would begin, he said, “Immediately, without delay.” In actuality, the policy was to be announced the following day and would still have required East Germans to go through a lengthy visa application process.
Schabowski’s confused answers and erroneous media reports that border crossings had opened spurred thousands of East Berliners to the Berlin Wall.
The most famous Berlin Wall border crossing belonged to the US Army known as Checkpoint Charlie but on Nov. 9 at the Bornholmer Street checkpoint, Harald Jäger, the chief officer on duty, faced a mob growing in size and frustration.
The officer receiving insults, rather than instructions from his superiors became overwhelmed and opened the border crossing on his own. The other gates soon followed.
On November 9-10, 1989 crowds tore down the wall piece by piece using their hands, pickaxes, sledgehammers and shovels.