Full Citation

  • Title Kohl urges Germans to strive for unity
  • Author Binyon Murray, Michael Ian
  • Publication Title The Times
  • Collection The Times Digital Archive, 1785-2008
  • Date Saturday,  Nov. 11, 1989
  • Issue Number 63549
  • Page Number 3
  • Place of Publication London, England
  • Language English
  • Document Type Article
  • Publication Section News
  • Source Library Times Newspapers Limited
  • Copyright Statement © Times Newspapers Limited.
BONN LEADERS JOIN THE TRIUMPHANT PARTY Kohl urges Germans to strive for unity In triumphant celebration of free - dom , West Germany's leaders yes - terday stood on the steps of the City Hall in West Berlin and told a vast, cheering crowd that the Berlin Wall must be torn down and the people of East Germany granted freedom. Herr Helmut Kohl, the Chan - cellor , and Herr Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the Foreign Minister, interrupted an official visit to Poland to return to West Germany and join the emotional scene. The Chancellor told a crowd of more than 10,000 mostly young people : "Today is a great day in the history of the state and in German history. We have all waited for this day and now we have seen it." He greeted all those who had come over from East Berlin and demanded for them and all their countrymen the right to self - de t ermina t ion . Most of the East Germans who poured into the West as the border opened early yesterday morning are going home again — so far. That is a partial relief to the authorities, who were already at their wits' end to find more accommodation for those pouring in. The Chancellor called on his fellow West Germans to stand together and give help to those who needed it, and declared it was every German's moral duty to strive for the "unity of our German people". The Chancellor also paid gen - erous tribute to the British, French and Americans, and said that with - ou t the steadfastness of the Western allies Germany would not have experienced this day. He also praised President Gorbachov who, he said, had specified during his visit to Bonn in June the right of self-determination for all Germans. Herr Genscher, in a powerful and emotional speech greeting those from his own birthplace in East Germany, said that the streets of Berlin had shown that 40 years of separation had not created two German states but one German nation. He said freedom of move - men t and travel for East Germans must become freedom of speech and elections . And, addressing Germany's neighbours, who he said were anx - iously asking where Germany was going, he said the country was striving to live in peace with all its neighbours and wanted freedom for ail the peoples of Europe. "Freedom in the German Demo - cra tic Republic can never be a danger to our neighbours." To a roar of applause , the Foreign Minister said that earlier yesterday he had stood in Warsaw and told "our Polish neighbours" that never again would Poland's western fron - tier be brought into question. Stormy applause broke out again when he announced that the East Berlin authorities had opened two further crossing points to let their citizens travel freely to West Berlin. In West Berlin some 40,000 overnight revellers had been counted through. Only 2,500 said they wanted to stay. At Rudolph - s tein just 350 of the 1,000 who crossed registered to stay. A similar proportion was recorded at Helm - s tedt . At the same time people were starting to drift back, with some 1,400 returning last week and a steady trickle being reported at most crossing points . "Now that people can come and go as they please, I expect the pressure to get out will ease," said one border official at Duderstadt. Even so, the numbers choosing to stay is bound to be significant, and the new flood of refugees comes in a year which has seen a record number of ethnic refugees arrive from elsewhere in the Soviet bloc, strainingtesources to the limit . Herr Oskar Lafontaine , the popu - lar Social Democrat Prime Minister of the Saarland, has called openly for "the people of East Europe" to be told clearly that there are limits to the amount of help Bonn can provide . "The population are right to argue against the flood of new settlers ," he said this week in a debate in the Saarland Parliament . "The refugees must understand for example ,... that the housing mar - ket just cannot cope." West Germanv has an estimated shortfall of one million homes for its own population, and the influx is worsening this enormously. Accor - ding to the Federation of West German Towns, around DM 10 billion (£3.5 billion) a year is needed for community housing, instead of the DM 2 billion approved by the Government this week. But the moment yesterday be - longed to the grand old man of West German politics, Herr Willy Brandt, the former Chancellor, who was Governing Mayor of West Berlin when the Wall was erected in 1961. Wild and almost adulatory ap - plause greeted him when, with emotion breaking through his voice, he declared that he was glad to be alive to see this day. Reflecting with pride on his own first steps as Chancellor to forge better relations with the East by recognizing East Germany, signing the treaties with Moscow and War - saw and taking what he called every possible step to hold together the unity of the nation, he insisted that the people in East Germany must decide their own fate . This was only possible in free elections . He also called on his countrymen to maintain unity of purpose, clear minds and to do their duty towards Germany and Europe. Earlier, the Speaker of the West German Parliament referred to the extraordinary scenes on Thursday night when Germans of both sides suddenly found themselves free to visit the other half of the city without any formalities, and min - gled together in a spontaneous, joyful celebration. The scenes, he said, were unforgettable. Chancellor Kohl and Herr Genscher will now resume their interrupted Polish visit. But their symbolic presence here left no doubt in the minds of leaders in East Germany and Warsaw that the communist authorities in East Ber - lin had indeed taken a momentous step, one that for all Berliners has ended the cruelty of the city 's division. EAST BERLIN: The queues outside the police stations of East Berlin began at 6.30am yesterday (Anne McElvoy writes ). By opening time , 8am at the tiny station in the Munzstrasse , there were hundreds of people on the pavement outside chanting: "Why are we waiting?" The reason was there were only four staff members to deal with the rush. The police in the Prenzlauer Berg district of the city were the first to admit defeat . "Go straight to the border and get your documents stamped there ," announced the superintendent . There was a stam - pede for the nearest bus stop . Eventually , a spokesman from the Interior Ministry declared that citi - zens could cross the border without a visa or a previously collected stamp. In factories, offices and schools throughout the capital, attendance was spasmodic. Even those who managed to restrain their curiosity to visit the Wall could not tear themselves away from their tele - visions to work. A workman said: "The economy here is already a disaster. One lost day won't hurt , especially not this one." From Michael Binyon in West Berlin, and Ian Murray in Bonn as" ."^^ . ^^* . ^^ . .^ ^^^ Together again: Separated sisters, Maria Werner, left, from East Berlin and Meerane Sachsen from the West, embracing yesterday at the crossing control of Checkpoint Charlie, where they were reunited after 20 years.