Journalist Ricardo Ehrmann, who effectively contributed to the fall of the Berlin Wall, died with a question.
Ehrmann, 92, was an employee of the Italian news agency ANSA during the German regime change in the fall of 1989. By this time, German protesters had been demanding the government’s right to free speech and freedom of travel for weeks; On November 4, for example, more than half a million people gathered in East Berlin to demand reforms.
In this mood, a press conference was held on November 9, in which government spokesman Gunter Schabowski spoke about the possibility of lifting travel restrictions. East German political leaders had recently drafted a project to loosen border controls, and he had to explain it. Based on a previously written note by Shabowski. However, he was not told exactly how this information would be dealt with or when these changes could take effect (the party had only planned to open the border the next day, by which time the border guards had to prepare).
Schabosky also read the memo at the previous press conference Ehrmann asked if travel would really be free in the GDR then. To this, the speaker, after some hesitation, answered yes, at the time when Ehrman asked when exactly the change would take effect.
As far as I know now, with immediate effect and without any delay
– The reply came from Schabosky, which in practice means that the travel was free. Ehrmann then wrote to the Romanian editorial office of the Italian news agency ANSA that Schapowski’s words “almost brought down the wall”.
This press conference proved to be a defining moment in an already tense situation. As a result of Guenther Schabosky’s declaration, tens of thousands of East Berliners flocked to the border crossings to cross West Berlin. The border guards of the GDR were ignorant because they had not received any instructions, and finally, just before midnight, under pressure from the masses, the first crossing was opened at Bornholmerstrasse, which led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany for a year. later.
Ehrman’s widow told ANSA on Tuesday that the man had died in Madrid. The Italian news agency called her former colleague on social media.
A few years before that, Gunter Schabosky Died in 2015.
(Cover Photo: The Berlin Wall in Germany on January 1, 1989. Photo: Peter Turnley/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images)
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