Coronavirus mutes German Unity Day celebrations

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Coronavirus mutes German Unity Day celebrations

It has been 30 years since German reunification, when East and West Germany became one country again. The anniversary would normally be met with fervor, but this year’s affair has been overshadowed by the pandemic.

    

Celebrations in Berlin in 1990 when Germany reunified (picture-aliance/dpa/W. Kumm)

Commemorations to mark 30 years of German reunification got underway in subdued fashion on Saturday due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier are set to attend an official German Unity Day ceremony in the city of Potsdam, some 25 kilometers (15 miles) southwest of Berlin.

The proceedings, at midday, will take place with far less fanfare than usual in order to keep the number of attendees down while maintaining social distance measures.

Merkel acknowledged in parliament this week that the celebrations “will be quieter than the occasion would actually deserve.”

Everything you need to know about German reunification

A morning ecumenical service at the Church of St. Peter and Paul in the city will also be scaled down, along with similar religious and musical events all over the country, many of which will be livestreamed.

Building bridges

Germany’s path towards reunification as one nation gathered pace after the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.

Three weeks later, then West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl unveiled a 10-point plan for unification, based on the assumption that the process would take a decade to fulfill.

Read more: Germany faces old problems 30 years after reunification

However, on October 3, 1990, less than a year after Kohl’s proclamation, the German Reunification Treaty went into effect, officially making Germany one country again.

German Unity Day has been celebrated as the country’s national holiday ever since.

East Germany, the Berlin Wall and 30 years of German reunification

 

 

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