"Is this a joke?" : how Helmut Kohl learned about the fall of the Berlin Wall
That the wall is falling "as quickly", "we weren't thinking about it", recalls Friday November 8 on Franceinfo Joachim Bitterlich, former adviser to the Chancellor of the FRG Helmut Kohl, with whom he experienced the fall of the Berlin Wall in the night of November 9-10, 1989.
"It was German television" that told him about the fall of the wall that night, "because we weren't prepared for it," says Joachim Bitterlich. "The chancellor was making his first official visit to Warsaw, and we had to warn him. At the time, there was no internet or mobile phone, and the international switchboard in Frankfurt took at least an hour."
When his spokesperson said to him: The wall is open, Mr. Chancellor, his response was: Are you kidding? - No, Mr. Chancellor, we see it on TV, people are passing by, you have to go back to Berlin urgently!
Helmut Kohl ends up going back to Berlin, from Warsaw, 400 km away: "He had a hard time! Because from Warsaw to here, he could not drive directly by plane, he had to go through Sweden, Hamburg, there a plane of the American ambassador of the time transported it to Berlin, because there were still the air corridors between Berlin and the West of Germany, so that it attends this demonstration ", says Joachim Bitterlich.
On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, Franceinfo offers you a series of reports, between unusual memories and immersion in Germany today.