Honecker's Last Anniversary of the GDR

Author & Director:
Kerstin Mauersberger | Juergen Ast

Commissioning Editor:
Jens Stubenrauch


astfilm productions | for RBB

The decisive moment in the autumn of 1989, the final turning-point in the history of the German Democratic Republic: Was it the 9th of October in Leipzig, the 4th of November with its huge demonstration in Berlin, or the 9th of November, the day the borders opened, ... ?

Sometimes the 7th of October is underestimated, but just that day was essential. Not only because on that day the crisis in the GDR had come to a head, already before the 7th of October seemed to turn out as a "day of fate". For the crumbling regime in East-Berlin all necessary preparations had top-priority. It was the day of the 40th anniversary of the GDR.

Everyone of distinction of the communist world was expected in East-Berlin. It will be the last reunion of all communist leaders. The guest list, a "Who is who" of the East Bloc at the beginning of its breakdown. In retrospect a spooky scene - a death dance of old men failed to see that their leadership is already lost, that the last countdown of their political power had already started.

The documentary reconstructs the 7th of October as a day of the last struggle for survival of a ruined regime. It tells the story of the day when masses of people "took over" the streets in Leipzig and Dresden, when countless demonstrators came together in front of the "Palace of the Republic" in East-Berlin. A picture of great symbolic power. An exemplary snap-shot of the approaching downfall. The dramatic events at the "Palace of the Republic" in East-Berlin, they are in the focus of the story. Diplomats and guests, victims of the police brutality, politicians, journalists, armed services, members of the Intelligence Services, they all recall the decisive moments, the hopes and fears of this strange and memorable day.