Where were you when the Berlin Wall came down? In our exclusive Wall Stories video series, German Embassy diplomats and staff share their personal stories and recollections from this historic time period.
“I escaped from East Germany in 1985,” says Sandy Radmanasch, a diplomat at the German Embassy in Washington. Restrictions on the freedom to travel, a lack of learning about new cultures and a big portion of curiosity made Sandy want to leave her home in Leipzig. As an athlete of the East German national team in sports gymnastics, she took the chance at a competition in Madrid and fled. Equipped only with the most basic things, she came to the West German Embassy in search of protection and help.
“They sent me to the airport with two bodyguards so that no one could catch me,” she recalls. When she arrived in Germany she found shelter with acquaintances. “I wasn’t really sure whether I would see my family again.” Luckily, this fear subsided four years later when friends and family could finally embrace one another after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
“My life would look very different if the wall wouldn’t have fallen,” says David Gill, German Consul General in New York when reflecting on the fall of the Berlin Wall. Since he was not allowed to study at state universities, Gill became a plumber and went to a private church seminar to study Theology before he was allowed to become a lawyer after the peaceful revolution. “I served the state and the church and the German president – and now I’m a diplomat,” he says, describing a career path that would have not been possible for him before November 9, 1989.