Berlin Wall, October 1990, saying “Thank You, Gorbi (Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union)”. *Photo from Wikipedia
October 3 is German Unity Day.
It is the national day of Germany, celebrated as a public holiday. It commemorates the anniversary of German reunification in 1990, when the goal of a united Germany that originated in the middle of the 19th century, was fulfilled again.
After World War II, the remaining German territory and Berlin were partitioned by the Allies into four military occupation zones. The western sectors, controlled by France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, were merged on May 23,1949, to form the “Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany)”. On October 7,1949, the Soviet Zone became the “German Democratic Republic (East Germany)”.
The Berlin Wall, built in 1961 to stop East Germans from escaping to West Germany, became a symbol of the Cold War.
In summer 1989, Hungary decided to dismantle the Iron Curtain and open the borders, causing the emigration of thousands of East Germans to West Germany via Hungary. The East German authorities eased the border restrictions, allowing East German citizens to travel to the West.
This culminated in the “Two Plus Four Treaty” (It was negotiated in 1990 between the West Germany and the East Germany, and the Four Powers which occupied Germany at the end of World War II in Europe: France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States) a year later on September 12, 1990, under which the four occupying powers renounced their rights under the German Instrument of Surrender, and Germany regained full sovereignty. This permitted German reunification on October 3, 1990.
In commemoration of the day, we introduce you to some Germans living/used to be in Tokyo.
*Click a photo below to see their stories!
“To foreigners who want to intern in Japan; learn Japanese as much as you can. Keep “AAA (Always Active Approach)” in your mind and don’t hesitate to ask for help.” – Verena Hopp, Internship foundation organizer