Mass Demonstration in East Berlin (November 4, 1989)
On November 4, 1989, up to 500,000 people demonstrated peacefully in East Berlin. Oppositional groups and East German artist associations had called for the gathering; it was the largest officially authorized, non-state organized demonstration in GDR history. During the mass rally on Alexanderplatz, demonstrators heard more than twenty speeches; they including appeals by intellectuals as well as reform Communists. Authors Christa Wolf, Stefan Heym, and Christoph Hein moved and inspired their listeners, while high-ranking SED functionaries Markus Wolf and Günter Schabowski tried to keep the crowd calm. In addition to free elections, demonstrators demanded fundamental civil rights such as freedom of opinion, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly, as well as free elections. Photo: Michael Richter.