7 nov. 2009

C'era una volta il Muro/2.


Until recent weeks, Harald Jaeger, a Stasi officer at Bornholmer Strasse in north Berlin, held the undisputed mantle of the man who peacefully breached the Berlin Wall. But now Heinz Schafer, who was a colonel in the East German army in 1989, has declared that he was the first to open the barriers, at Waltersdorf in the far south of the city. Col Schafer, a 78 year-old who lives in a bleak suburb not far from the former crossing, only put forward his account in a talk to schoolgirls earlier this year.

"But by 8.30pm, and certainly by 9pm, I had given the order to allow people to cross. There was no word from my bosses. Normally, that is what I would have waited for but it was my own conviction to open it."

Col Schafer's claim has been ridiculed by German historians and border guards at other checkpoints. But it does explain years of rumours that East Germans were seen in southern Berlin much earlier than could be explained by standard accounts.
(East Germans may have arrived in West Berlin hours before previously thought)

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