October 9, 1989, a quarter century ago, Leipzig was the site of an historic first. After prayers for peace in St. Nicholas Church about 70,000 people peacefully demonstrated, calling out “Wir sind das Volk” (“We are the People”) and “Keine Gewalt” (“No violence”).
A month later, November 9, 1989, East German government official Günter Schabowski announced that "Permanent relocations can be done through all border checkpoints between the GDR (East Germany) into the FRG (West Germany) or West Berlin." Suddenly, people who dared to approach the border were allowed to pass.
This special year in history is being celebrated in a unified Germany with special events, exhibitions and historic celebrations in Dresden, Leipzig and Berlin.
From October 9 – 12, 2014, Leipzig celebrates with the Peaceful Revolution, highlighted by the ‘Festival of Lights’ festivities on October 9. Audio, video and light installations along the demonstration route will recall and remember the events that took place 25 years ago. Another important event will be the peace prayer in St. Nicholas Church, also on October 9. Tens of thousands of guests from all over the world are expected to join in for the celebrations dedicated to the year that changed Germany for the better.
There will be many special events, exhibitions, readings, discussions, concerts, and festivities about the division, the Cold War, and the events leading up to the peaceful reunification throughout Berlin. Thousands of illuminated, helium-filled balloons will be set up along seven miles of the former border of the Berlin Wall —right across the city center — for the entire historic weekend. Visitors and residents can gain a sense of the magnitude of the division as they walk the length of this "symbol of hope for a world without walls”. Balloons will be released into the air at five spots as a remembrance of the opening of the wall 25 years ago.
The centerpiece for commemorating the event is the Berlin Wall Memorial, which features a last piece of the wall, emotional displays, and other information. On November 9, 2014 a new permanent exhibition, “25 Years Fall of the Wall” will be opened in a festive ceremony.