The scene of the largest demonstration in the history of the GDR
© Kulturprojekte Berlin / Photo: David von Becker
The largest public protest in GDR history took place on Alexanderplatz on 4 November 1989. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered to demonstrate for a different and more democratic GDR. The protesters called for freedom to travel, free elections, freedom of speech and of the press, and the legalization of opposition groups and new parties. Bearing countless banners, people were creative in making their demands public – perfectly legally, for the demonstration had received official permission.
A wave of protests swept across the towns and cities of the GDR from mid-October onwards. When it was no longer possible to suppress these protests, the communist state party was forced to allow independent assemblies and demonstrations across the country.
The recently founded opposition group Neue Forum sought to exploit this new leeway and called for a mass demonstration to be held in the capital city of the GDR. Actors and artists took up the idea and began to make preparations. The SED gave its approval for the demonstration. This step marked a significant change in the strategy of the party’s leadership. Rather than suppressing protest, they hoped to control and deflect dissent. On Alexanderplatz, opposition figures and artists spoke to the crowds, but so too did SED officials. Their speeches, however, were greeted with derision and were frequently drowned out by loud whistles and heckling.
In addition to the numerous events that took place on Alexanderplatz, large-format 3D video projections were also displayed here throughout the festival week. An open-air exhibition could be accessed at this site on all seven days of the festival week.
Travel info: Alexanderplatz
Close to the Urania World Clock, 10178 Berlin
Tram: 12, 50, M1, M2, M4, M5, M6, M8, M10
Bus: 100, 200, 245, 248, 300
S-Bahn: S3, S5, S7, S9
U-Bahn: U2, U5, U8
This venue is barrier-free throughout and equipped with a barrier-free bathroom.