Protest against Egon Krenz being installed as chairman of the State Council outside the State Council building in East Berlin, 24 October 1989.
Source: picture-alliance/dpa/Wolfgang Kumm

East Berlin’s Gethsemane Church

At the beginning of October 1989, the Gethsemane Church became the centre of the resistance and a focal point of the revolution. A contact telephone line took on the role of a news agency. Solidarity campaigns called public attention to imprisoned demonstrators. Numerous information events attracted thousands of people.

Vigil outside East Berlin’s Gethsemane Church, 8 October 1989.
Source: picture-alliance/dpa/Lehtikuva Oy
8. Oktober 1989: Am Tag nach dem brutalen Vorgehen der Sicherheitskräfte besuchen viele Menschen die Mahnwache in der Ostberliner Gethsemanekirche. Sie fragen nach verschwundenen Angehörigen und informieren sich über die Lage im Land.
Source: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft/Nikolaus Becker
Over the first few days of October 1989, the Gethsemane Church became an information and media centre. Correspondents from all over the world, originally in Berlin for the state celebrations, now began to report on a revolution.
Source: Rolf Zöllner
The bishop of the Berlin-Brandenburg Lutheran Church, Gottfried Forck, during prayers for intercession in East Berlin’s Gethsemane Church, 9 October 1989. Thousands of visitors came to the information events every day.
Source: picture-alliance/epd/Bernd Bohm
Joy outside East Berlin’s Gethsemane Church: On 9 October 1989 the police withdrew, having blocked off the streets around the church up to that point. The vigil went on, as there were still demonstrators in prison.
Source: picture-alliance/epd/Harald Hauswald
Contact telephone: opposition activists compiled information from all over East Germany on demonstrations, arrests and state violence. This information was made public in the Gethsemane Church and the underground newspaper telegraph. Klaus Kuppler manning the telephone, 12 October 1989.
Source: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft
In parallel to the vigil, a fasting campaign was also held in the Gethsemane Church.
Source: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft/Thomas Zickler
23 October 1989 in East Berlin. Representatives of opposition groups presenting a 100-page report on police violence to the international media (seated, l. to r.: Ehrhart Neubert, Jürgen Gernentz, Marianne Birthler, Werner Fischer, Christoph Singelnstein). The man with the microphone is Klaus Voß, the assistant chief public prosecutor.
Source: Bundesarchiv/183-1989-1023-019/Bernd Settnick
Demonstrators calling for the publication of the witness reports on East Berlin’s Alexanderplatz, 4 November 1989.
Source: Rolf Zöllner

On 2 October 1989, members of the Weißensee Peace Circle, the Environmental Library and the Church from Below initiated a vigil in East Berlin's Gethsemane Church. Its aim was the release of the demonstrators arrested in Leipzig in September. The brutal police violence in Berlin on 7 and 8 October and the arrests of protesters angered many people. Thousands attended the services every evening and supported the solidarity campaigns.

In the Gethsemane parish hall, activists gathered information around the clock on oppositional activities and arrests throughout the country via a contact telephone. Reports were written to document attacks by the state forces, later forming the basis for a public review of the violence by an independent investigation commission.

Extract from a letter from Jörg Zickler to his parents, dated 7 October 1989. Zickler was an active member of the opposition group Church from Below and one of the organisers of the vigil in the Gethsemane Church. 24-year-old Zickler was arrested the same day at a demonstration in Berlin.
Source: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft
Extract from a letter from Jörg Zickler to his parents, dated 7 October 1989. Zickler was an active member of the opposition group Church from Below and one of the organisers of the vigil in the Gethsemane Church. 24-year-old Zickler was arrested the same day at a demonstration in Berlin.
Source: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft
Witness report from a mother who had been arrested along with her son in Lychener Straße in the Prenzlauer Berg district on 7 October 1989. This type of impressive reports of individuals’ experiences played a key role in the discussion in East Germany during the autumn of 1989.
Source: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft
Witness report from a mother who had been arrested along with her son in Lychener Straße in the Prenzlauer Berg district on 7 October 1989. This type of impressive reports of individuals’ experiences played a key role in the discussion in East Germany during the autumn of 1989.
Source: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft
Handwritten appeal from October 1989.
Source: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft
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