Menschen auf der Berliner Mauer nahe dem Brandenburger Tor am 9. November 1989

My 9th of November

Thirty years after the peaceful revolution and the fall of the Wall, the MDC is publishing some of the many eyewitness accounts, memories, and reflections of its employees. It is a “bottoms-up” approach to writing history.

Molecular biologist, bioethicist, and civil rights activist Jens Reich writes an essay about the “ambiguous revolution of 1989”; a driver recalls his escape as a 19-year-old across the Hungarian-Austrian border; and the Administrative Director of the MDC leafs through her diary from the autumn of ‘89. A former institute director reports on the skepticism and concerns after the fall of the Berlin Wall; a brain researcher from Heidelberg describes his departure for Berlin; and a veterinarian talks about her first-hand experiences of that exciting night on Berlin’s Sonnenallee. A physicist relives his participation in the Monday demonstrations as a student in Leipzig; and a scientist from Kiev writes about the value of freedom.; a biologist discusses the obstacles in GDR research as well as mistakes that were made in the scientific world with the integration of East and West; and Detlev Ganten, founding director of the MDC, asks questions about what succeeded and what failed after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

In 1992, the MDC emerged from the former Academy of Sciences of the GDR. The project shows that a piece of German-German history was written in Berlin-Buch after 1989 – and is still being written here today. The project began with a call to all employees. The question was: “What does November 9, 1989, mean to you, and what are your memories from the year 1989?” The result is a piece of commemorative culture.

Eyewitness accounts, memories, and reflections on the peaceful revolution of 1989

The series comprises the thoughts and stories of 41 MDC employees – not only from East and West Germany, but from many different countries. We get to hear from people from many different MDC-departements: Scientists, assistants, directors, laboratory workers, former and longtime employees remember the 9th of November and tell what this date personally means to them.



1: privat; 2: picture-alliance/ dpa/ Istvan Bajzat; 3: pixabay; 4: privat; 5: picture alliance / NurPhoto / Emeric Fohlen; 6: ullstein bild / imageBROKER / Norbert Michalke; 7: MDC; 8: MDC; 9: picture alliance / dpa / dpa-Zentralbild; 10: privat; 11: privat; 12: picture alliance/dpa-Zentralbild/Berliner Verlag; 13: MDC; 14: picture alliance / Geisler-Fotopress / Christoph Hardt; 15: NASA/ESA/Chris Hadfield; 16: picture alliance/imageBROKER/Norbert Michalke; 17: privat; 18: MDC; 19: picture alliance/Collection Christophel/© Vestron Pictures; 20: privat; 21: picture alliance/ZB/ddrbildarchiv/Manfred Uhlenhut; 22: privat; 23: pixels; 24: ullstein bild / snapshot-photography / Tobias Seel; 25: ullstein bild/BPA; 26: privat; 27: pexels ; 28: picture alliance / ZB / Ulrich Hässler; 29: privat; 30: Bundesarchiv; 31: privat; 32: privat; 33: privat; 34: privat; 35: Christina Anders, MDC; 36: privat; 37: picture alliance/dpa-Zentralbild/Eberhard Klöppel; 38: pixabay; 39: picture alliance / 360-Berlin / Jens Knappe; 40: Sammlung Bielka, MDC