A former East German border guard has spoken about the night his checkpoint in Berlin was swarmed by people trying to cross to the west of the city on the evening of the fall of the Wall.
With reluctance, Harald Jaeger decided the only way to control the crowd on 9th November 1989 was to open the border completely. “I had the most beautiful and most terrible night at the same time. It was terrible because I realised that the party and the authorities had let me down and that my own colleagues did not stand behind me. And particularly, my ideology completely fell apart back then,” he said. He went on to say, “I am no hero. I’ve did what was the only right thing to do on that evening back then. For everything else we have to thank the citizens of the GDR who stood in front of us. Well, there’s one thing I can take credit for – that no blood was shed that evening, just tears of joy and cold sweat, nothing else.” “The fact is, it was right and necessary, and exactly the right time. Although, thinking back now, 20 years later, I think I should have done this earlier. It would have spared us a lot of trouble,” he added.