With the GDR leadership under pressure from both ongoing emigration and nationwide protests, the leaders of the SED decided to reform the travel law. Shortly before 7pm on November 9, 1989, Günter Schabowski, a member of the Politburo, read out the new travel regulations at a press conference. To the surprise of all, the new regulations allowed East German citizens to apply for travel to West Berlin and the Federal Republic of Germany, effective immediately. That same night, thousands stormed to the West Berlin border to test this promise, forcing surprised border guards to open the gates. The photo below shows East and West Berliners on and around the Wall, celebrating the opening of the border.

Opening of the Berlin Wall: Cheering Berliners on the Wall at Brandenburg Gate (November 9, 1989)


Source: picture-alliance/dpa (c) dpa-Report