A seedbed for the revolution
© Kulturprojekte Berlin / Photo: Oana Popa-Costea
In early October 1989, Gethsemane Church became a focal point of the Peaceful Revolution in Berlin. A telephone hotline operating from the church served as a news agency and information events at the church were attended by thousands. From on 2 October onwards, opposition groups based in Berlin began to keep vigil there in the hope of securing the release of demonstrators arrested in Leipzig.
On 7 October 1989, the SED’s leadership celebrated the 40th anniversary of the GDR with international guests at the Palace of the Republic. But the official celebrations did not pass without incident. Across the country, thousands of people demonstrated for democratic reform. The demonstrators shouted, “We are staying here!”, “No violence!” and “We are the people!”. They demanded the legalization of new political movements and parties. The regime reacted with extreme brutality: In several cities armed units attacked protesters with truncheons. Many people were injured, and numerous arrests were made. But people were not as easily intimidated as they had been in the past.
In East Berlin, when demonstrators were driven away from the Palace of the Republic, they headed for Gethsemane Church. This all took place under the eyes of the international media, which had been invited to report on the anniversary of the GDR. The images of the peaceful protests and the state’s brutal response spread across the world within hours and – thanks to West German news reports – also throughout the GDR.
Part of the programme of events linked to this location took place at the Zion Church (Zionskirche). Large-format 3D video projections were displayed at Gethsemane Church throughout the festival week. An open-air exhibition couldbe accessed at this site throughout the festival week.
Gethsemane Church (04-06.11.)
Stargarder Str. 77, 10437 Berlin
TRAM: 12, 50, M1
S-Bahn: S8, S41, S42, S85
Zionskirchplatz, 10119 Berlin
Tram: M1, M8, M2, 12, 50
Bus: 247, 142
U-Bahn: U8, U2
The venue in the Gethsemanechurch is barrier-free throughout and equipped with a barrier-free bathroom.
The Zionskirche is barrier-free accessible (but the ramp doesn´t have light) but misses a barrier-free bathroom.