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November 10, 2009

The Berlin Wall, 20 years gone

Twenty years ago, on the night of November 9, 1989, following weeks of pro-democracy protests, East German authorities suddenly opened their border to West Germany. After 28 years as prisoners of their own country, euphoric East Germans streamed to checkpoints and rushed past bewildered guards, many falling tearfully into the arms of West Germans welcoming them on the other side. Thousands of Germans and world leaders gathered in Berlin yesterday to celebrate the "Mauerfall" - the dismantling of the Berlin Wall and German reunification - and to remember the approximately 100-200 who died attempting to cross the border over the years. Collected here are photographs both historic and recent, from the fall of the Berlin Wall. Be sure to pause on photos 12 - 15, and click them to see a fade effect from before to after. (38 photos total)

Smoke from fireworks surrounds the Brandenburg Gate quadriga in Berlin at the end of the official ceremony to mark the anniversary of the reunificiation of Germany, on November 9, 2009. (LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

This file photo shows a man hammering at the Berlin Wall on Nov. 12, 1989, as the border barrier between East and West Germany was torn down after 28 years. (AP Photo/John Gaps III) #

A boy waves to soldiers on the Berlin Wall in front of the Brandenburg Gate on November 10th, 1989. (John Tlumacki/Boston Globe staff) #

People stand on a section of the Berlin Wall at Potsdamer Platz. which was opened up on the morning of November 11th, 1989. (John Tlumacki/Boston Globe staff) #

Soldiers hold back the crowd as a section of the Berlin wall was taken down at Potsdamer Platz on November 11th, 1989. (John Tlumacki/Boston Globe staff) #

East Berliners get helping hands from West Berliners as they climb the Berlin Wall on November 10th, 1989. (AP Photo/Jockel Finck) #

East Berlin border guards stand atop the Berlin Wall in front of the Brandeburg Gate in this November 11, 1989 file photo. (REUTERS/Staff/File) #

East German border policemen refuse to shake hands with a Berliner who stretches out his hand over the border fence at the eastern site nearby Checkpoint Charlie on November 10th, 1989, after the borders were opened. (AP Photo/Lutz Schmidt, File) #

A circus bear on its hind legs crosses into West Berlin with its handler through a section of the Berlin wall that was taken down at Potsdamer Platz on November 11th, 1989. (John Tlumacki/Boston Globe staff) #

East German border guards look through a hole in the Berlin wall after demonstrators pulled down one segment of the wall at Brandenburg gate on November 11th, 1989. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau) #

East German citizens are applauded by West Berliners as they crossed Checkpoint Charlie with their cars to visit West Berlin on November 10th, 1989. Thousands of East Germans moved into West Berlin after the opening of the wall by East German government. (AP Photo/Thomas Kienzle, File) #

[Click on this image to see it fade]  A before-and-after combination of two pictures shows West Berlin citizens continuing their vigil atop the Berlin Wall in front of the Brandenburg Gate in this November 10, 1989 file photo (before) and cars passing through the Gate on November 1, 1999 (after, click image to view). (REUTERS/David Brauchli [before]/Fabrizio Bensch [after]) #

[Click on this image to see it fade]  Two pictures of the German Reichstag building (left) one with the Berlin Wall (before) taken on November 10, 1989, and the same view (after, click image to view) taken twenty years later on October 20, 2009, without the wall. (GERARD MALIE/JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images) #

[Click on this image to see it fade]  Two photos showing people posing at the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, June 6, 1989 (before) and a general view of Ebertstrasse and the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, July 14, 2009 (after, click image to view). (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch) #

[Click on this image to see it fade]  Two photos showing tourists posing in front of the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg gate in Berlin, June 6, 1989 (before) and a general view of the Brandenburg gate in Berlin, July 14, 2009 (after, click image to view). (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch) #

An actress dressed like an angel stands on the roof of a building in Berlin November 9, 2009. Eight actors with artificial wings are part of the installation 'Angels over Berlin' to symbolise the destiny of various people in Berlin before the Berlin Wall came down. (REUTERS/Christian Charisius) #

Among roses left by visitors, a couple peeks over a still-existing section of the Berlin Wall into the so-called 'death strip,' where East German border guards had the order to shoot anyone attempting to flee into West Berlin, at the Bernauer Strasse memorial on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall on November 9, 2009 in Berlin, Germany. (Carsten Koall/Getty Images) #

A detail view of a scale model of the Berlin Wall can be seen on the line of the original wall in central Berlin, on November 8, 2009. (Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images) #

A tourist poses with a scale model of the Berlin Wall on the line of the original wall in central Berlin, on November 8, 2009. (Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images) #

People walk in front an original, 10-panel section of the Berlin Wall at an event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall on Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles, California on November 9, 2009. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images) #

Hammers and sickles are embedded in a former piece of the Berlin Wall in an art exhibition in Moscow on November 9, 2009. (DMITRY KOSTYUKOV/AFP/Getty Images) #

People peer through an 11.5 foot (3.5 meter) high wall made out of ice, part of an art installation entitled 'Work In Progress' representing the Berlin Wall, near the German Embassy in central London, Monday, Nov. 9, 2009. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) #

A woman walks past slabs of the former Berlin wall inscribed with the number of people who died each year trying to escape from east Germany at the wall memorial of the Marie-Elisabeth Lueders House of the German parliament in Berlin November 7, 2009. (JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images) #

A man passes by graffiti drawn on an art installation symbolising parts of the Berlin Wall in central Sofia, Bulgaria on November 9, 2009. The art project, called "The Wall 20", marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain in Europe. (REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov) #

A woman playing the part of an angel takes part in a dress rehearsal for a theatre piece of a rooftop in Berlin on November 4, 2009. (MICHAEL KAPPELER/AFP/Getty Images) #

Red roses have been left in a crack in the back wall of a preserved segment of the Berlin wall during a commemorative event to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall in Berlin November 9, 2009. (DAVID GANNON/AFP/Getty Images) #

Bono of U2 performs during a concert in front of the Brandenburg Gate the on November 5, 2009 in Berlin, Germany. U2 performed a free concert in collaboration with MTV Europe to help the city celebrate 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images) #

Spectators watch as giant, painted styrofoam dominoes stand along the route of the former Berlin Wall near the Brandenburg Gate on November 9, 2009 in Berlin, Germany. The approximately 1,000 dominoes, painted by schoolchildren and artists all over the world, are meant to symbolically represent the end of communist rule across Eastern Europe and are the highlight of celebrations in the German capitol marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. (Henning Schacht-Pool/Getty Images) #

An honour guard carrying torches at Bellevue Castle on November 9, 2009 in Berlin, Germany. The city of Berlin is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which led to the end of communist rule in East Germany and later on the reunification of East and West Germany. (Andreas Rentz/Getty Images) #

Violinists on pedestals symbolizing the Berlin Wall perform on the Place de la Concorde in Paris, France on Monday Nov. 9, 2009, during a concert commemorating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. (AP Photo/Francois Mori) #

Spectators view giant, untoppled, painted styrofoam dominoes along the route of the former Berlin Wall near the Brandenburg Gate on November 9, 2009 in Berlin, Germany. (Andreas Rentz/Getty Images) #

From left, Gordon Brown, U.K. prime minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, France's president, Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor, Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's president, Horst Koehler, Germany's president, Klaus Wowereit, mayor of Berlin, Hillary Clinton, U.S. secretary of state, and Traian Basescu, president of Romania walk through the Brandenburg Gate as part of the celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, in Berlin, Germany, on Monday, Nov. 9, 2009. (Michele Tantussi/Bloomberg) #

People watch the fireworks display in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on November 9, 2009 during the celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. (ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images) #

Former polish President Lech Walesa gives the thumbs-up before pushing the first of the painted dominos along the former route of the wall in Berlin on November 9, 2009, as part of the celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. (ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images) #

Dominoes collapse along the former border in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Nov. 9, 2009. (AP Photo/Eckehard Schulz) #

Spectators watch as giant styrofoam dominoes topple along the route of the former Berlin Wall near the Brandenburg Gate on November 9, 2009 in Berlin, Germany. (Carsten Koall/Getty Images) #

People take photos of the fallen domino blocks near the Reichstag in Berlin on Monday, Nov. 9, 2009. (AP Photo/Fabian Bimmer) #

A tourist simply walks across the old line of the Berlin Wall near "Checkpoint Charlie" in central Berlin, on November 7, 2009. (Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images) #

 
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