Concert of Mstislav Rostropovitchl
Live from Checkpoint Charlie, the main passage point between East and West Berlin, France 2's special correspondent sums up the current events.
On 9 November 1989, the communist party's political bureau spokesperson made an announcement on East German television: "the borders are open, effective immediately": the Berlin wall's border was open in both directions. Right away, East Berlin's inhabitants came in droves to the checkpoints, especially at the famous Check Point Charlie; the border patrol let them pass through. Joy was erupting.
Mstislav Rostropovitch, the Soviet cello player, set up at the base of the west side of the wall and spontaneously played excerpts from a Bach suite. A dissident forced into political exile in 1974 for having provided shelter to writer Soljenitsyne, and then stripped of his Soviet citizenship, Rostropovitch was probably extremely affected by the significance of the event. Within a few hours, thousands of East Germans rushed to see the "window of capitalism" while Westerners passed to the east side to discover the "land of socialism".
The event was huge; it marked the end of Germany's split, which was in effect since 1945; it also marked the fall, without war, of the communist block, which was forced to open up its borders.