Monday, November 03, 2014


We knew change was coming. For weeks trains had been crossing the Bavarian border at the town of Hof, bringing East German emigrés into the Federal Republic. There was freedom to travel of a sort.

The Wall, we were sure, would fall. Behind it there was a movement now, exactly twenty-five years ago, to reform the state. There was a prospect, we believed, of a fourth German-speaking neighbour nation, as democratic as Austria or the northern Swiss cantons.

Among our friends in Munich there was no talk at all of an actual re-unification... surely that made no sense? There were, after all, some attributes of the East German system which worked quite well and would only be increasingly beneficial for the populace when the brutally firm hand of the communist regime was lifted.

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