Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft/Frank Ebert

Permanent Representation

West Germany’s Permanent Representation in the GDR had to be closed temporarily on 8 August 1989, as 130 East German refugees had sought protection in the building. The situation was similar in the West German embassies in Prague, Warsaw and Budapest throughout the late summer of 1989. There too, many people hoped they would be allowed to leave the GDR. Tens of thousands of East Germans also fled to Austria from Hungary via the opened border. Over a hundred thousand people had applied to leave for West Germany during the first six months of 1989. This wave of escapes and emigration played a key role in bringing the ruling Socialist Unity Party to its knees.

During the years when Germany was divided, the West German state adhered to the goal of German unity. It never officially recognised the GDR and so did not have an embassy in East Berlin. Opening its Permanent Representation at Hannoversche Straße 30 in East Berlin 2 May 1974 was an expression of this policy. Even the name made it clear that diplomatic relations between the two German states were not normal. 

The communist songwriter Wolf Biermann lived in the house on the opposite corner until he was expelled from the GDR in 1976. He was one of the most prominent critics of East Germany’s communist dictatorship.

Outside the West German Permanent Representation, 12 February 1988: security forces arresting demonstrators asking for help to leave the GDR.
Quelle: Archiv Bundesstiftung Aufarbeitung, Fotobestand Klaus Mehner, 88_0211_ausreise01
zum Seitenanfang