"As far as I know, immediately," a sentence was voiced by the spokesman for the East German Communist Party Guenter Schabowski overwhelmingly and accidentally crushed the Berlin Wall.
Schabowski, who has so unintentionally been enrolled in history, died on Sunday in 86. year.
Volker Warkentin, Reuters correspondent from Berlin in the late eighties, testified to the most famous press conference in the modern German history of 9. November 1989. years. Without any help, he was summoned by a member of the political party and its spokesman Guenter Schabowski.
"An hour has gone by for annoying conclusions from the Communist Party Central Committee meeting," recalls Warkentin.
Many journalists have already left a small room without windows on the first floor of the international press center in East Berlin. One went home and the other one to the restaurant where Stasi routinely filmed foreign journalists with hidden cameras.
Although months have grown to pressure the East German government to approve the Reisefreiheit, Schabowski had nothing to say until at the end of the conference, correspondent Italian Anse Riccardo Ehrman did not ask for travel arrangements. It was in 18.53 hours.
"So ... we have ... decided today ... mind ... to implement a regulation that will allow every citizen of the German Democratic Republic to ... um ... resign DDR at any border crossing," Schabowski said confused.
"He seemed to barely believe in his own words and we were all amazed. What did he just say? "He described Warkentin's disbelief among his colleagues.
Schabowski then asked when the decision came into force. "By my information ... immediately, without delay," he replied, squeezing nervous papers in front of him, in vain seeking more information.
It was later revealed that the decision did not need to reach the public until the next morning. And it meant that East Germans had to duly request travel visas for the state agencies. Chasing thousands of people at the border crossing that has terrified the East German borderbreakers on the Berlin Wall is the last thing Schabowski had in mind.
A few seconds after the end of the press, Warkentin skipped three steps down to Reuters's office. "The years of heavy smoking seem to have not bothered. I struggled to get to my breath, but I managed to get an agendas telling the emergency word. 'The East Germans are allowed to go to West Germany, comes into force immediately,' Schabowski said, '' he apologized.
Reuters overcame competition, and four and a half hours later Lieutenant Colonel Harald Jaeger under pressure from thousands of East Germans in Bornholmer Street opened the first crossing through the Berlin Wall.
Schabowski continued to work as a journalist after the unification of Germany, editing the local newspaper in the town of Rotenburg, Fulda. He is the only former senior DDR official publicly condemned the regime he belonged to. Year 1999. was sentenced to three years in prison for condemnation in the killing of East German nationals trying to flee over the Berlin Wall. He acknowledged moral responsibility for it and served only one year.
She spent the last years at the retirement home and did not go public.