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Chronicle 1989

"The Wall … will still be standing in fifty and even a hundred years' time": that's what Erich Honecker is still saying at the end of January 1989. And the GDR does seem stable to most people at the time, even though the dilapidated condition of industrial plants, the old parts of cities and the roads, as well as the air and water pollution, all herald the imminent economic disaster. more
  • January

    • 1989

      3 January

      According to figures from the West German Interior Ministry, reception centres in West Germany registered 39,832 emigrants from the GDR in 1988, double the number in the year before (1987: 18,985). more
    • 1989

      4 January

      In a survey carried out by RIAS in Alexanderplatz square, GDR citizens reveal the high hopes they have of the process of reform taking place in the Soviet Union. They also want improved opportunities to travel.

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    • 1989

      11 January

      On the strength of the promise of immunity given by GDR lawyer Wolfgang Vogel, more than 20 would-be GDR emigrants leave the West German Permanent Mission in East Berlin. more
    • 1989

      15 January

    • 1989

      15 January

      Mass demonstration in Prague on the 20th anniversary of the self-immolation of Jan Palach. The police take brutal action against the demonstrators.
    • 1989

      18 January

      Erich Honecker, 18 January 1989
      At a meeting of the Thomas Müntzner Committee, SED General Secretary Erich Honecker announces publicly that the Wall "will still exist in 50 and even in 100 years' time, if the reasons for its existence have not been removed." more
    • 1989

      20 January - 31 December

      The former American vice-president, George Bush, is sworn in as the successor to Ronald Reagan as the 41st President of the United States.
    • January 1989

      In January, 4627 GDR citizens manage to flee to the West; 3741 people are given permission to leave the GDR.
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