At that time I was retraining as a bank clerk, far away from the Wall in the district of Wilmersdorf. On the evening of November 9th, I turned on the news as usual and heard talk of East German Trabant cars driving down Kurfürstendamm. But it wasn’t until the next morning, as I approached the bank branch at the crossing of Bundesallee and Badensche Strasse on the bus and saw the long queues of people waiting outside, that I realized the full extent of what had happened. Inside it was absolute chaos. It was clear that the banks would pay out the promised “welcome money,” but the board was still discussing how this was to be organized. To cut a long story short, I spent the following weeks handing out what felt like an endless stream of 100 Deutsche mark notes. I have never known such patient and happy “customers!” I have also never cried so much at work. Some recipients, young and old, would begin to weep when they held a 100 DM note in their hands – presumably for the first time. And this emotional reaction was contagious! On the first few days, local residents even brought out drinks for the many waiting people.
© ullstein bild / imageBROKER / Norbert Michalke