tv CNNI Simulcast CNN November 9, 2014 2:00am-3:01am PST
crumbling concrete, now symbols of freedom in berlin. today the world stops to celebrate freedom really. the 25th anniversary of the fall of the wall. hello and welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world this hour. i'm holley garani. we are live in berlin as the events continue. i'm joined by my colleagues jim clancey and fred pleiken.
we'll get to the celebration. first of all, i want to get to one of the developing stories we're following this week end. two u.s. citizens held in north korea are back home. a plane carrying kenneth bae and matthew todd miller touched down in the united states early this morning. they were released after james clapper flew to north korea himself to discuss the men's situation. kenneth bae spent more than two years in prison. he spoke shortly after arriving in the u.s. >> i just want to say thank you all for supporting me and standing by me during this time. and it's been just amazing blessing to see so many people being involved, getting me released the last two years, not to mention -- not only mentioning for the thousands of
people that have been praying for me as well. >> and that was kenneth bae there. matthew todd miller had been detained since april. he spent a lot less time in north korea. he was also at that press conference. he didn't make a statement, however, and was reunited with his family. well, back to today's events in berlin. the german chancellor angela merkel is live at the berlin wall. very emotional part of berlin. this is where so many east berliners lost their lives, killed by border guards in many cases trying to cross from east to west. events are underway on this very special day. pretty soon we're expecting the lighting of candles at the national memorial for the victims of the berlin wall. angela merkel making her way to that location where she will be honoring those who lost their lives all these years ago over the decades that the wall stood
from 1961 to 1989. chancellor merkel will also officially open the country's new permanent exhibition in the documentation center of the berlin wall memorial. all that and more to mark, of course, the quarter century since the wall came tumbling down. according to the official schedule we are a couple of minutes away from the lighting of those can'tlesdles. let's bring in my cnn colleagues. jim pleiken is live and, jim, if we could talk our viewers through the significance of this. the first female chancellor, first east german chancellor. many firsts. here she is honoring the fallen at the berlin wall memorial today, jim. >> reporter: for so many people in germany it was the
casualties. that was a real symbol to everyone of just how brutal the east german regime was, the lengths it would go to preserve its own survival. people did not come first. it was the leadership that came first and the considerations of people's human rights, those considerations simply were not there at the time and so you see these memorials all over. there's one not far from the brandenberg gate here. there's another little arboretum, a stand of trees that is very close to the parliament building that is maintained with the names of many of those who lost their lives. how many died? you know, that's an interesting question because we don't really know. the absolute records of the east germans are suspect. it is believed somewhere around 200 lost their lives. some of them may have been accidental, but at the same time we know there were drownings, there were shootings.
people were taken down by dogs. vicious dogs, i should say, as they tried to make their way to freedom. there was a no man's land along the walls and beside them that spelled death and disaster for those east germans once the wall was fully in place. it was barbed wire, it was steel. people risked all of that to find freedom. so that ceremony that we're looking at is really symbolic of that deep, deep meaning. pau paula.
>> all right. we saw the german chancellor there, angela merkel, place her candle honoring the dead, those who really risked it all to be free. east germans who tried in some cases to make a run for it, tried to cross in the dead of night through the death strip. there were two walls. this would have been in the middle of that area that was heavily patrolled by east german border guards and this wall that you're seeing there on the right is the wall honoring those who lost their lives. there is, in fact, if you look at the right-hand side of your screen, what a border guard watch tower would have looked like at the time. when you visit this area you realize how much of a risk it was to cross it because it wasn't just getting over one
wall, it was getting over one wall, running for several hundred yards, meters, then making it to the other wall and making it through. angela merkel now after having taken part in that service at the chapel of reconciliation is making her way to the visitor's center. that's where she's going to walk along the former border wall. to take in the scale. she knows all of this. angela merkel is from east germany. as we were discussing with our berlin correspondent, she is the first chancellor from east germany to lead a unified germany and also the first female chancellor. a little bit later this hour angela merkel is going to open a new exhibition as well not very far from where she placed her candle in honor of the victims of the berlin wall.
there's one lone balloon there in the center of your shot. this is one of many. thousands were placed along the path of where the wall once stood here in berlin, and it's going to be very interesting and touching, i think, to see all these balons eventually released into the air symbolizing freedom for berlin and reun ification fr the country after years of bitter division. craig pleiken is at the east side gallery. what are we expecting later in there is an opening of a new permanent exhibition so tourists from all over the world and berliners are going to be able to remember the wall, where it stood, how those who lived behind it suffered. what are we expecting there? >> reporter: i was able to actually go to that permanent exhibition a couple of days ago. it is one that is very
interesting. they have a lot of material that you haven't seen before. what the interesting thing about that exhibition is, that it really focuses on the people of east germany. it focuses on the meem thpeople tried to flee. those are the people that obviously contributed a great deal to the berlin wall coming down. it focuses on the people who started protesting in 1989. if you go back to those days, to the summer of 1989, what you had started in places like berlin but also foremost in places southeast of berlin is that people started protesting against the regime. there was a mass exodus. the whole time of course there were people who came up with ever new ways to try to get over the curtain. people who tried to get over the wall and flee in the dead of night. people tried to build their own planes to get across. one woman tried to flee twice.
in the end she was brought out by west germany and her will was never broken. let's have a look. when berlin was divided on august 13th, 1961, anata was 23 years old and in the final stages of her medical studies. she and her parents immediately knew they couldn't live in a communist east and decided to flee. we were unhappy in east germany, she says. we were christians and liberals and that was just impossible in communism. the dictatorship of the prolitariat was something i couldn't deal with. their way out was supposed to be similar dug from a house in the west to a house in the east, but when they came to the location, there was a nasty surprise. when we got to the house where the tunnel was supposed to be, one of the helpers came out, she said. he was totally pale and says, the tunnel has been discovered.
you cannot use it. she was sent to jail for 2 1/2 years under harsh conditions with constant harassment and interrogations. a new exhibition at the berlin wall memorial shows the plight of people like renata who kept thinking of new, creative ways to try to flee the communist state. a desire for freedom that put many of them behind bars. this is an exact replica of what the berlin wall and the death strip used to look like. most estimates say 138 people died trying to get from east to west berlin but that didn't deter others. there were people who tried to build tunnels, there were those who tried to climb across and those who built their own aircraft. after getting out of jail renata immediately tried to flee again with a false passport by a
bulgari bulgarian. but she was captured again. she would send them her wedding picture when she got married in the west, and that's exactly what she did after being released in 1969 as part of a west german government program that purchased the freedom of jailed east germans. today, she says, the communist repression must never be forgotten. it was worse than you can imagine, she says. this was not a country of law and justice, it was never like that. 25 years after the fall of the wall her testimony is more important than ever as a whole generation has now grown up not knowing what german division was like. also, of course, never having experienced the repression that took place in eastern germany, of course a lot of people who spoke out against the government were jailed very quickly. also people as we've seen who tried to flee from east germany were taken into custody as well. renata spent several years in
jail. i can tell you i was at the former east german stazi jail here in berlin, it was not by any stretch of the imagination a nice place. there were constant interrogations and repressions of the family. we also have to keep in mind that of course these people who fled really deserve a lot of credit. but also the people who started the demonstrations in 1989 were very, very courageous. they forced the east german governments into concessions. at that point the east german government was absolutely and morally bankrupt collapsed and unification was able to happen. it was something the citizens deserve all the credit for, paula. >> tell us quickly what's going on behind you. we have that trubant, which is the east german car that took so long for them to take possession of, 12 or 13 years. >> reporter: 14.
>> we have a cnn -- >> we have a -- >> you're asking people on the streets of berlin to autograph it. >> reporter: yeah, exactly. i have certain rules. i am german. i have to make rules. they sign their name and they sign the city or the country that they're from. as you can see, the trubant has several colors. i'm asking them to sign on the black in silver. on the white on the top -- this has to happen in an orderly fashion because i, of course, am german as well. you're absolutely right. what we did, we customized the trubant. we are asking people to sign it. there are two reasons. one is because we want to make it a truly international cnn trubant. people sign their names. but also if you look at the wall from back then, there was a lot of graffiti, people signing
their names, tagging their names on it. people signing their names is going to make our trubant look even more authentic the way an international berlin trupant should look, pal la. a little grunge in our trubant. >> i heard you were the main attraction when you drove that thing through berlin. thanks very much. fred pleiken, one of the things that angela merkel has said, she's 60 years old now. she said, i think you never forget how you felt that day. i had to wait 35 years for that feeling of liberty. it changed my life. well, as we continue to broadcast there from the festivities at the berlin wall memorial where the german chancellor just lit a candle in honor of the victims of the wall, one other person who was here, right here 25 years ago is my colleague jim clancey who's at the brandenburg gate. he's remembering his coverage
from 1989. jim. >> reporter: an incredible feeling. angela merkel has it right. it's a day that i don't think anyone who was anywhere close to this wall will ever forget however long that they live because it just captured all the emotions, the hopes, the dreams of people that you knew had been there for decades and they exploded in really a frenzy of celebration atop the wall as the pick axes and hammers blazed away at that and even a heavy equipment had been brought in. the decision was we're going to lift the wall, show a softer side of our socialist system. most people really didn't buy that. a lot of people vowed that once they got out they would never come back. it really -- well, there were other events. the velvet revolution, czechoslovakia, romania, of
course poland that led it all off. it mattered here most. this was the focal point, and this brandenburg gate behind me is the mystic center of the german people. this is the epicenter of the east/west divide. when that wall came down it told all of us communism is collapsing. let's reflect on what that meant. hammers in hand, germans battered down the wall that had divided this country for some 28 years. what everyone witnessed seemed unthinkable. for most, if not all their lives, east germans knew even approaching the wall could have resulted in their deaths from armed border guards, and suddenly they were on top. those were heady times. of course, everyone knew they were witnessing history, but that didn't stop us from turning to one another and asking, can we really be seeing this
happening? even diplomats were jarred. i remember talking to them, u.s. ambassador as events unfolded. there were fears that moscow or the east germans themselves might try to roll it all back as some kind of mistake, but as the situation evolved he soberly assessed that things had gone so far no one could unravel them. >> what's happened, it's irreversible. we ought to remember how we got here. we got here because we were strong. we got here because we were determined. and we got here because we defended the free choice of people to choose their own destiny. >> reporter: the night of november 9th, 1989, we reported how the german people made that decision. after almost three decades of separation, germans of east and west embraced in a common victory. some came because they wanted to test whether it was true, others embittered by years of
repression vowed they would never come back. >> reporter: here at the brandenberg gate, the mystic center of the german people, it came sometime later, but it was here that officials from east and west were hoping to get together for an official opening, and what they discovered was that nobody wanted to listen to the speeches. germans began to stream over in a light rain, many of them carrying umbrellas, balancing on top of the wall. they were celebrating by popping champaign bottles, drinking beers and lighting sparklers. there was a mood -- a party mood, a mood that they knew that history was being made, that they were a part of that history. i will never forget that night, paula. i will never forget what happened here. i will never forget how it literally, literally changed the
world. back to you. >> it certainly did. thanks very much, jim clancey is at the brandenburg gate. as we watch images from 1989 of the wall coming down, we can only be reminded of other parts of the world where conflict is raging, where divisions are still very much the reality on the ground. and one of the things that the berlin mayor told us a couple of days ago when we spoke to him is he wants the celebrations today to be a message to all of those people that change be is possible, that something that seems impossible one day will eventually the tide of history will bring about the kind of transformation you did not think you would see in your lifetime. one could only hope that other parts of the world going through difficult times now will find inspiration in the celebration today. we were mentioning the german chancellor angela merkel. she is at the berlin wall memorial. in a few minutes' time according to the official schedule, she will be opening a new permanent
exhibition with artifacts, photos, the types of historic documents as well that haven't always been made available to the public there. that will be available to view at the permanent exhibition. for all of our viewers who have made it to berlin, who have been able to go to the checkpoint charlie museum, it's also interesting to see how creative some of the east berliners were in trying to make it across the wall. they built their own aircraft. they dug tunnels. many of them over 135 lost their lives and that's an official number. some people say perhaps that those who died, that that number is a lot higher. we're seeing those candles lit in honor of the fallen. ordinary berliners, tourists and visitors paying their respects as well. it's 11:21 a.m. here in berlin. as i mentioned, their festivities unfolding in the
german capital. just below our position people are streaming past us making their way to the brandenburg gate. a little bit later today we're expecting some musical numbers. daniel barrenbaum is going to be leading the philharmonic to accept will he brat tcelebrate falling of the berlin wall. we'll be right back. ♪ ♪ ♪
border of light illuminating the path where the former berlin wall once divided the city. thousands of balloons are strung over 15 kilometers to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the wall. later today those lanterns will be filled with helium and set afloat so i don't know if you're able to see some of that video of us flying over berlin. we'll get that prepared for you and run it when we can. meantime, we're going to fred. or jim. all right. once we get in touch -- once we get in touch with fred or jim, we'll get to them. just to set the scene here for you, we are at the berlin wall memorial on the right-hand side of your screen. i am a few hundred yards, meters from the brandenburg gate. we're expecting the german chancellor, angela merkel, to officially open a new permanent
vision at the berlin mall. earlier she lit a candle to honor the victims of the wall. it's an important event today, not just for germans but also, of course, for people all around the world because the fall of the wall meant really that it was the beginning of the end of the cold war and the collapse of the iron curtain. jim clancey was there. he reported on this in 1989. jim, one of the things you spoke about to the former soviet leader mikhail gorbachev who held back and allowed this movement to take shape is that today there are concerns that a new cold war may be developing between -- we'll get to that in a moment. first, here is angela merkel making her way to the podium. in fact, she's taking a seat in the front row.
we'll get to that in a moment. jim clancey, let's get to you. mikhail gorbachev saying he has concerns that a new cold war is shaping up. >> reporter: he has concerns about the leadership, and not on one side, on both sides. let's be fair. the former soviet leader is very frank in those concerns. he says, we're really pushing ourselves. we're walking ourselves into a new cold war and the way that we're doing it is with provocations. everyone knows the situation in the ukraine. more than 4,000 people are already dead. hundreds of people lost their lives, innocent civilians aboard a malaysian yet liner that was shot down. it may remany mumain murky who' responsible for that. we've seen the president of ukraine deposed by the crowds in kiev. he was a duly elected president,ian knpresident
president,ipresident president,ian ya'an vick. there he is's a fear that the political leadership of today isn't standing up and saying, wait, everybody. calm down. we have made progress. let's build on that. instead we're allowing ourselves, one side to provoke the other, and that's not going to solve anything in his view. mchale gorbachev very strongly believes that something must be done. people must at least pay attention to the fact of what is happening, and so mikhail gorbachev through his foundation is trying to bring leaders together to discuss the problems and discuss steps on what they can do in order to improve that situation, in order to bring the two sides together and talk about it, build trust. that is what brought the wall down, the behind-the-scenes negotiations on the eastern side and all of those things. we've lost our communications with you for the moment.
we're standing by at the brandenburg gate and i know you are standing by there as well as we await the words of today's chancellor of germany, angela merkel. back to you now. >> all right, jim clancey. thanks very much. angela merkel there at the berlin wall memorial closing her eyes, taking in that musical performance. she's about to open a new permanent exhibition at the berlin wall memorial. let's listen in for just a few moments.
a live look at the brandenburg gate. it is the center of modern berlin here. if we run some of those live images coming to us. 25 years ago, however, this spot looked very different, to say the least. people came together and started tearing down the wall between east and west berlin. the official demolition began the summer of 1990, but of course it all started on november 9th, 1989. 96 miles of wall encircling west berlin designed to keep in east berliners wanting to flee to the west. i'm hala garadi. this is cnn's special coverage of the momentous event, the fall of the berlin wall. we'll get to all of that in a
moment. first, i want to update you on the other top stories of the day, including this one. two u.s. citizens held by north korea are now back in the united states. kenneth bae and matthew todd miller arrived back on u.s. soil early this morning. they were released after u.s. director of national intelligence, james clapper flew to north korea to discuss the men's situation. kenneth bae spent more than two years in prison. he spoke shortly after arriving in the united states. listen. >> i just want to say thank you all for supporting me and standing by me during this time. and it's been just amazing blessing to see so many people being involved, getting me released the last two years and not to mention -- not only mentioning for the thousands of people who have been praying for me as well.
>> kenneth bae there. matthew todd miller had been detained since april. he spent a lot less time in k custody than kenneth bae. miller's family did not make a statement, however. all right. back to festivities here in berlin. jim clancey is at the brandenburg gate. what's going on where you are now and what are we expecting in the coming hours, jim? >> reporter: well, we're going to see a lot of activity here. we've got a band behind us. this is just getting warmed up a little bit. the crowd isn't warmed up, but there are now hundreds who have gathered here at the brandenburg gate. many people are -- because of the weather, i think, strolling along that border of lights, those balloons that you see there we've been talking about that will be released later in the day, symbols of where the wall once stood, the opposite of the wall, not the heavy darkness that was the berlin wall. the entire east looked gray.
these are lights, they're going to be filled with helium and be released. it's a symbol of this day, november 9th. it's important to realize, yes, it was really marked, it was completed, if you will, when people tore down this wall with their bare hands, but it took many other events. this was evolving from the summer of 1989 and especially accelerated in the last week before november the 9th. let's take a look back. >> monday east german leaders promised a new travel law they hoped would stall the flight to the west of tens of thousands of skilled workers, but experts said it was too little too late. >> this is a very important step, of course, but i do think people learn more. >> reporter: the experts were right. tens of thousands of east germans took to the streets monday night, to demand just that. many were outraged the new
travel law permitted them only 30 days a year in the west. as the pressure mounted tuesday, more than 40 members in the east german cabinet resigned. the leader promised free elections on wednesday and more freedom of assembly, but the people were already assembling as they wished. even the resignation of the ruling pulit bureau failed to appease change. >> he has his back up against the wall. >> the watershed came thursday. the east german leadership recognized their backs were up against the wall, the wall that had been their armor of isolation for 28 years. it was open. after almost three decades of separation, germans of east and west embraced in a common victory. some came because they wanted to test whether it was true, others embittered by years of repression came vowing they would never go back. by friday the flow of east germans crossing into the west became an unstoppable tide.
border guards stamped visas until it became obvious that tide and the enthusiasm that drove it couldn't be slow. >> today is my birthday and this is my best present for this day. >> wonderful. wonderful. >> reporter: we listened to those voices. i remember the woman saying, wonderful. wonderful. it is very hard to describe what it was like, the amount of -- the weight that was on people everywhere. you know, before the wall came down i had the opportunity to go through checkpoint charlie many, many times, travel into east berlin. one time we even violated our visa rules and we traveled to leitsick to watch thousands of people in a candlelight march demanding freedom in the run up to the wall coming down. you know, there was all this weight on people, and suddenly it was lifted for their entire
lives, hala, they never believed this day was going to come. they believed that they were trapped for the duration of their lifetimes, then suddenly it was over and the jubilation was everywhere to be seen. back to you, hala. >> jim clancey was there in 1989 and, of course, as i was mentioning it was only the beginning of the wall coming down in 1989. the official demolition started the following year, and then it took several years really to rid the city of this wall. and today very few people know that there are more portions of the wall and public display outside of germany, such as in the united states, as there are here in germany. the city is unified. the country is now unified. some divisions remain. of course, this is something that germans are fully aware of. east germany had to play catch up with west germany, east berlin and west berlin as well with industries, with the economy in both parts of the
country sometimes going at two speeds. so this is obviously as well even a quarter century later something that is very much an issue for germany as it continues a quarter century on as a unified country. we are still following what's going on at the berlin wall memorial. the mayor of berlin, klau klaus voverite is addressing the assembled vips at the documentation center. a new permanent center is being opened by the chancellor, angela merkel. let's lis enfor a moment to the mayor of berlin. >> translator: interest is really good and we should focus on that. on the other hand, we know that there is very little known. we need those places in the open official spaces. we have to commemorate people
who became victims, stones on the floor, show us where it went. the former prison tells about the treatment. with the permanent exhibition, it's the final stone of this commemoration. 850,000 people came -- visitors came to the berlin wall memorial. we understand our self as a tolerant and open metropolis and we need to remember, not forget, we also think of the year 1938
when the synagogues were on fire, when the jews were persecuted and murdered. the memory is and will be always important. injustice against other people, race, religion, that is our personal responsibility that's out of dictatorship and that we have to help where those injustice happen at. somebody said who wants to understand history needs something to touch, to have a look. it's also his place, his
memorial, something new which points to better future. the chapel of reconciliation there where people died because they wanted to be free and european -- lots of people of european countries helped with building of this chapel. together we will celebrate together to finish this memorial. all the civil rights, the architects and the director, klaus meyer, and all his co-workers who did all this important work. this memorial is from the people and the politics have supported
that was the start of the downfall of civilization. it was a horrible day. how this date could become a day of hope and happiness and on the dates 9 november 1989. 25 years after the fall of the wall not only happiness and importance and responsibility of the term in history. the fall after german history was unexpected at that moment. the iron curtain already was frail. the peaceful revolution and other states of the east bloc were important for that, without
it impossible. for central and middle -- eastern and middle europe was the importance, czechoslovakia, poland. hungary and austria and the politics of glasnost and perestroika. i'm very happy, in those days three personalities in berlin which was a place that was relevant for that. mikhail gorbachev, 1989. more and more east germans had the courage to take their life in their own hands.
protests against the common -- the local elections can't be forgotten. the civil rights movement for more freedom and rights. there were refugees towards prague and hungary. there was more and more pressure for the leaders of the s.e.d. they tried to oppress and imprison but in june 1989 the pulit bureau of the authority was chinese behavior in tianamen square but even that couldn't damp down the people in g.d.r. 10,000, hundred thousands which
would protest repression and bad economics. people were scared when they went to monday's demonstrations and they were told where they would have to go if they wouldn't come home, the parents. with new faces they tried to change the corner, but it didn't work. flowers and instead other things they wrote. it should be harassment and this should be finished. no more of this ahead. all if there is something wonderful about that time, there
were so much creativity within the people. it was about to get liberty, freedom back to be a city and not suppressed to be free that a human being can be. in '53 it started with tanks was killed then. 36 years later couldn't be stopped. liberty, freedom wins the world pushed away. but how many enduring the 28 years of the war became a victim? we know 186 people who died in
berlin. and people in the it is agreed. he was the first known victim of the war. the world was exactly this way. during the building of the wall, '61, the windows and doors towards west were closed, built closed. a woman jumped out of the third floor of her window. she got very much injured and died. this was the first death at the
wall. people were appalled and they put down flowers. there will be more. there were many more victims. every single one is one too many. therefore, the day of happiness about the fall of the wall is also a day of a commemoration of the victims. and i also include elder people who died in the prisons in the area or died later on the consequences of their imprisonment. for relatives and friends, they would have to be quiet about it. who would demand questions? who would demand answers?
they would be present as well. therefore, it's the victim, it's to commemorate just victims of this in this state. if a state is based on disregards basic human rights, what else could it be but a legitimate state? the berlin wall, symbol of that, got people on the end of their tether and they broke on the wall. after the wall opened, it's no wonder that it was destroyed immediately. within a year, the wall was -- had vanished. it was important. it was very understandable that
it -- but it was important to remember it. and this sign of the past needs to be commemorated. and we think this berlin wall memorial because it's so easy to forget and you forget so fast. i can tell for myself how quickly one forgets. until 2000 there was three part monume monument, the first document center -- documentation center and chapel of reconciliation in the same place where the church of reconciliation used to be.
it was destroyed in '85. that was another sign of it shift here. and the concept of memorial, the pass was made for a unique aerial for the central commemoration of the berlin wall, 2009, the new visitor center opened, where we are now. on the former strip is an open exhibition that is so cold window of commemoration. the gift that's the victims face. five million people have visited
this exhibition. the interest is so big that we decided that we would change e the -- we'll remember it and have another permanent exhibition and which will be open today and they will talk about it. thank you for the lot of work. they manage to create a place which inspires thought and memory. i wish party exhibition lots of visitors, young visitors. they miss, of course, the personal memories. but to see the wall of the fall as thankful as history.
we're so glad to have you. what a great show, great thing we get to talk about today. there is still so much mystery around it. you're looking at the first pictures here of kenneth bay and matthew todd miller as they finally come home. stepping foot on u.s. soil with family there on the tarmac. they are greeted to hir arms and their hugs. and it's a really