Remembrance Days are rewarding for journalists, especially since Google made research digging so easy. And how the German media love such days! Their favorite dates recall four events: June 17, 1953, the “Uprising” (or whatever it’s labeled) by East German workers in the birthing period of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the building of the Berlin Wall on August 13, 1961, its opening up on November 9, 1989 and “German unification” on October 3, 1990. The final digits of round-numbered years are 3, 1, 9 and 0. Add on five-year final digits – after all, proper calendars must mark 25 or 35 year anniversaries – and you get 8, 6, 4 and 5, so all but two years every decade offer fine opportunities for journalists, orators and politicians to remind us, for days, even weeks in advance, how awful the GDR was, how doomed to fail and how lucky its demise made all of us poor “Ossies” (East Germans).
We are again blessed with one such year. Not German unification, a 29th year is not round. But November 9th fits the bill, a full 30 years after the Berlin Wall was breached, so we must ready our nerves for weeks of speeches, articles, memory dips and PR stunts. At one such event miles of big domino stones were pushed down, at another, thousands of brightly lit balloons sent floating upward. Such celebrations usually end up near the Brandenburg Gate with giant fireworks and fervent singing of the all-German anthem, “Deutschland über alles”.