The Archive of the Romanian Revolution of December 1989

A Catch-22 December 1989, Groundhog-Day Production. Presenting the Strictly Personal Research and Scholarship of Richard Andrew Hall, Ph.D.

Braila in zilele revolutiei (III)

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on October 22, 2014

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from Libertatea (Braila), 24 octombrie 1991

Maiorul Ionel Taralunga:  Pe seara, dupa caderea intunericului s-a tras asupra comandamentului diviziei si unitatii noastre, care se afla in aceeasi curte, in special din blocurile in constructie.  Aceleasi pocnete seci, care s-au auzit si in alte zone.  Am adunat destule asemenea gloante pe care le-am predat procurorului militar.  Erau calibrul 5.6 mm, cilindrice dintr-un metal dur de culoare alba. De altfel gaurile facute de ele in cladirile noastre se mai pastreaza inca.  Sint mai mici decit cele produse de gloante de calibru 7,62 mm.  S-a tras si cu munitie 7,62 mm…

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Locotenent-colonel Dumitru Marvela:  Aceleasi care s-au strins si din comandamentul diviziei si din alte obiective militare.  Gloante calibru 5,6 mm….Cred ca scopul atacului n-a fost de a cuceri acest obiectiv ci de a provoca, a stinjeni aprovizionarea cu munitie a unitatilor miltare, a produce panica.  Altfel actionau cu forte mai serioase.  N-au fost decit mai multi, 4-5 persoane.  Nici ranitul sau mortul n-a fost identificat.

Locotenent colonel Tache Ene:  Si la Braila, ca si in alte orase din tara, acelasi sistem de operatiuni asupra unitatilor militare si obiective de importanta deosebita:  “Trage si dispari!”, binecunoscut principiu al actiunilor grupurilor de comando.  Atacurile s-au petrecut aproape in exclusivitate noaptea, intunericul fiind o masca ideala pentru aceste misiuni.  S-a folosit indeosebi armament usor, calibru mic (5,6 mm), dotat cu dispozitive de ochire in timp de noapte….Ce scopuri urmareau?  Crearea unei situatii confuze, paralizarea conducerii unitatilor militare, dispersarea fortelor de aparare in cit mai multe puncte si altele.    

http://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2014/10/20/braila-in-zilele-revolutiei-ii/

http://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2014/10/18/braila-in-zilele-revolutiei-i/

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Braila in zilele revolutiei (II)

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on October 20, 2014

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Maistrul Mihai Cruceanu, de la “Laminorul”:  Pe 23 seara eram in Laninorul 4.  La un moment dat am auzit serii scurte de arma cu automata, de pe acoperisul laminorului.  Se vad si acum urmele gloantelor in gardul unitatii si in peretii cladirilor cazarmii dinspre laminor.  Pocnetele armei pareau diferite de cele ale armelor de calibru 7,62 mm.  Erau seci.  De altfel am adunat de pe linga gard gloante de o facatura deosebita.  Ricosasera din placile de beton ale imprejmuirii unitatii.  Erau din metal alb, aveau capul tronconic.  Le-am masurat cu sublerul.  Aveau diametrul de 5,6 milimetri.

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http://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2014/10/18/braila-in-zilele-revolutiei-i/

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Braila in Zilele Revolutiei (I)

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on October 18, 2014

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Locotenent-colonel Ionita Ioan:

Interesant e, ca aparitia pe ecranele radiolocatoarelor a proiectiei unor tinte aeriene neidentificate a fost dublata de ivirea pe cerul Brailei a unor luminite rosii pilpiitoare, care se deplasau dinspre Insula Mare a Brailei.  Se vedeau cu ochiul liber.  Pareau a fi beculete de semnalizare ale unor elicoptere….

Ne-am dat seama ca sintem supusi unei actiuni sistematice de dezinformare.  Scopul?  A provoaca deruta, panica, a dispersa unitatile militare, pentru a nu mai reactiona cu intreaga capacitate de lupta in cazul unei interventii straine…

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Virgil Magureanu despre decembrie 1989 (Strict Secret, 18 decembrie 1990; Romania Libera, 1 iulie 1994)

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on October 17, 2014

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Jocul dublu al securitatii: Stefan Kostyal–Generalul unei alte armate moarte (cu Ioan Buduca, Cuvintul, ianuarie 1991) (II)

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on October 16, 2014

Jocul dublu al securitatii: Stefan Kostyal–Generalul unei alte armate moarte (cu Ioan Buduca, Cuvintul, ianuarie 1991) (I)

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Jocul dublu al securitatii: Stefan Kostyal–Generalul unei alte armate moarte (cu Ioan Buduca, Cuvintul, ianuarie 1991) (I)

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on October 15, 2014

 

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Declarations of Alexandru Kos (aka Alexandru Koos, aka Koos Sandor) from Timisoara in December 1989

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on October 12, 2014

(purely personal views as always, based on two decades of prior research and publications)

From the 630 am broadcast of Kossuth Radio on 23 December 1989 (Hungarian Monitoring transcripts of Radio Free Europe in Munich, Germany) http://storage.osaarchivum.org/low/c5/b8/c5b829b1-9021-414f-a83b-c90d3e5739c3_l.pdf :

Sandor Koos discusses in an interview (presumably performed on the evening of 22 December 1989 before nightfall based on the discussion of coming nightfall) from Timisoara how he and civilians found 9 Securitate members on the property of the Hotel Timisoara next to the Opera building in the center of Timisoara, took their guns and turned them over to the Timisoara military garrison. (p. 1752)

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http://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2013/12/17/dosarele-revolutiei-de-la-timisoara-si-procesul-de-la-timisoara-cateva-documente/

Alexandru Kos’s declaration for the military prosecutor, from 14 January 1990:

“[pe 23 decembrie 1989] am fost impuscat…cu o arma de calibru mare si probabil cu gloante dum-dum”

[on 23 December 1989 I was shot by a high caliber weapon probably with dum-dum bullets]

After discussing the exact incident mentioned above in the interview from 22 December 1989 about rounding up Securitate personnel on the grounds of Hotel Timisoara, where he says they had been for several days, he continues:  “I saw two of those who shot at me, one in a blue uniform with a white helmet, the other dressed in black with something white on his head.” [in other words, no stupidity here about the Army shooting into itself  and into civilians in the confusion of it all...]

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http://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2011/10/25/procesul-de-la-timisoara-xi-dupa-22-decembrie-teroristii-martorii-alexandru-koos-ion-flocioiu-si-herlea-floarea/

From this site http://www.banaterra.eu/romana/procesul-de-la-timisoara-1990-1991-vol-v ].  The following are from Volume V.  Alexandru Koos’ courtroom testimony during the so-called Timisoara trial (date of his testimony appears to be 3 October 1990).  Koos discusses all of the above incidents in detail, and also the specifics of those detained during these days.

Alexandru Koos who was wounded on the night of 22-23 December 1989 also was treated in Austria however, where both doctors and experts confirmed that the bullet in question was a dum-dum bullet. (p. 600)

http://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2011/10/02/procesul-de-la-timisoara-iv-martorii-adrian-kali-ioan-musca-traian-orban-si-alexandru-koos/

Alexandru Koos:

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Sorin Rosca Stanescu, the Historiography of December 1989, and Romanianists

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on October 10, 2014

(purely personal views as always, based on two decades of prior research and publications)

I, for one, haven’t forgotten….In recent days, some of those rushing to bury the journalist Sorin Rosca Stanescu–and to argue that they always knew and considered him a bad apple–are exactly the same people who conveniently turned a blind eye to Stanescu’s past as a Securitate collaborator, even after it became public knowledge in 1992.  They did so because it was ideologically and politically convenient.  They never asked at the time how or if that fact had affected his reporting before or after it became public knowledge…and in fact they still never have.  But then again there are always such people who, consciously or unconsciously, engage in the constant revision of their own personal history and selectively remember or forget past doubts, silences, or expressions of support as the situation dictates.

http://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2014/10/09/redux-decembrie-89-sorin-rosca-stanescu-turisti-sovietici-dezinformare-securista-si-orbirea-partizana-a-intelectualilor-romani/

–One Romanian political analyst, Alina Mungiu, has castigated the political opposition and independent press for their response in cases such as that of Rosca Stanescu.  Mungiu suggests that an opportunistic double standard leads those opposed to the Iliescu regime to “draw an illogical difference between the ‘bad securisti” of those on the other side, whose head they demand, and those [securisti] who are ‘ours’, those of the ‘good’ world, like F.G. Marculescu, Sorin Rosca Stanescu, rehabilitated by Petre Mihai Bacanu [Romania Libera's senior editor]…” [Richard A. Hall, "The Dynamics of Media Independence in Post-Ceausescu Romania," Special Issue:  Post-Communism and the Media in Eastern Europe (ed. Patrick H. O'Neil), The Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, Volume 12, no. 4 (December 1996)]

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http://books.google.com/books?id=Yy2aAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA111&lpg=PA111&dq=sorin+rosca+stanescu+securitate&source=bl&ots=tJMuOxvX3o&sig=70fgo29CTHBQ6Te6YCQZcz3yJA0&hl=en&sa=X&ei=nSY3VOWcEMTbsASmq4D4CQ&ved=0CEEQ6AEwBTgK#v=onepage&q=sorin%20rosca%20stanescu%20securitate&f=false

Back in late 1995/early 1996, fellow former Indiana University of Political Science Ph.D. Patrick H. O’Neil (at the time a Hungarianist) asked me if I wanted to participate in a special journal issue on the media in post-communist “Eastern Europe.” (I suppose I should be thankful that he and the publishers allowed me to publish a chapter as narrowly-focused as the one I did:  on coverage of the Romanian Revolution of December 1989 in the Romanian media.)  I could have written an anodyne, predictable Frankenstein-like chapter–Regime press bad; opposition press GOOOOD–that would have been easily accepted and cited by the Romanian studies community.  But by then that was impossible.  My dissertation year of 1993-1994 in Romania had truly undermined my previous views and understandings of many things in post-communist Romania that I had accepted as gospel before that field research.  On the other hand, I probably should have heeded the words of a professor who cautioned several years earlier about not publishing while still writing the dissertation, but I desperately needed a publication to keep any chance of an academic career a possibility (it didn’t work and if anything hurt me!).  Indeed, the years 1994-1996 were years of great confusion for me in working through what I had found to that point and full of false starts.  Therefore, I am not particularly proud of this chapter as it contains ideas and directions (it was written in March-May 1996) that in the face of evidence I was soon to abandon (i.e. yes, I made mistakes and I freely admit so!).  I did, however, get some things right, and one of those was the case of Sorin Rosca Stanescu.

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Senior Romanianists, Vladimir Tismaneanu and Tom Gallagher, two leading authorities on opposite sides of the ocean in the English-speaking world, did not publish a word of dissent or questioning of Sorin Rosca Stanescu until the mid-2000s.  Indeed, Tom Gallagher’s 2005 Modern Romania continued to portray Stanescu in almost heroic terms.  Tismaneanu only seemed to have remembered Stanescu’s Securitate past in 2006 when Stanescu and Stanescu’s daily Ziua bitterly criticized him.  These things are verifiable.  Any doubts they may have had significantly never seem to have made it to print or the Internet until the mid-2000s at the earliest.  In fact, Tismaneanu still seemed to focus on the “good” Stanescu until quite recently, as the following excerpt about June 1990 makes clear:   ” …despre conversatiile cu Sorin Rosca-Stanescu (pe atunci unul dintre cei mai acerbi critici ai fesenismului) dar si cu Florin-Gabriel Marculescu, ziarist de o impresionanta tinuta morala, amandoi inca la Romania Libera,” http://tismaneanu.wordpress.com/2009/06/13/raportul-final-si-mineriada-din-13-15-iunie/

I recall in the mid-90s attempting to relate my doubts and misgivings about Stanescu’s reporting on December 1989 to Tismaneanu.  He neither cared, nor took it seriously.  In the tradition of academic putdowns, Gallagher actually accused me in a review of low standards of professionalism for questioning journalists of the independent press.  Hence, why I was so thankful to come across Alina Mungiu-Pippidi’s  1995 observation–cited above–that crystallized and explained the double standard I had been witnessing (of course, at the time, I hadn’t realized that there was more of a back story to why Mungiu had Rosca Stanescu in her sights, but her analysis was still spot on and a breath of fresh air.)

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(Redux) decembrie ’89: Sorin Rosca Stanescu, “turisti sovietici,” dezinformare securista, si orbirea partizana a intelectualilor romani

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on October 9, 2014

decembrie ’89: Sorin Rosca Stanescu, “turisti sovietici,” dezinformare securista, si orbirea partizana a intelectualilor romani

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on October 2, 2009

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In vara aceasta, pe site-ul Tupeu, Control, Monopol ! (TCM), omul TCM a scris cum in in timpul mineriadei din iunie 1990 a stat de vorba cu SRS–Sorin Rosca Stanescu–si cum SRS era atunci un mare dusman al FSN-ului….Da, e adevarat, asa a fost…Din nenorocire, totusi, e incomplet, nu este adevarul intreg…fiindca la acelasi timp, SRS era un fost colaborator cu securitatea, mai precis cu USLA (detaliu important)…si a difuzat dezinformarii de provenienta securista…de exemplu, basmul cu “turisti sovietici” din decembrie ’89…sigur ca pina astazi ori n-a sesizat acest lucru TCM, ori nu vrea sa-l recunoasca…o lume impartita in alb si negru este mult mai placuta…

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Ignorat cu desavarsire de catre intelectuali romani…acest articol a devenit renumit si chiar foarte pretuit printre fosti securisti (Filip Teodorescu) si functionari ceausisti (Radu Balan, Timisoara)…OARE DE CE?

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Radu Ciobotea, Flacara, iulie 1991

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Filip Teodorescu, Un Risc Asumat, 1992 (si aceasta carte este citata de catre TCM, dar desigur ignoreaza cu desavarsire discutia aceasta….)

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“Life punishes those who come too late!”: East Germany’s 40th and Last Anniversary Celebration (7 October 1989)

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on October 7, 2014

http://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2014/09/30/the-collapse-of-european-communism-25-years-ago-the-east-german-exodus-through-prague-september-october-1989/

http://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2014/08/16/the-light-and-guns-of-19-august-media-accounts-and-video-about-an-important-day-in-the-fall-of-european-communism-in-1989-featuring-hungary-poland-and-romania/

Mark Kramer of Harvard University’s Cold War Studies Center highlighted the centrality of East Germany to the region-wide collapse of communism in Eastern Europe in 1989 as follows  in “The Demise of the Soviet Bloc” (see pages 235-241 here, http://www.ustrcr.cz/data/pdf/seminare/2013/kramer/demise-of-the-soviet-bloc.pdf :

The crucial test case in all this, at least for Soviet policy, was the GDR, which for historical, geographic and strategic reasons was the keystone of the Warsaw Pact. [p. 236]

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The following timetable/chronicle of daily events is from this highly useful site:

http://www.chronik-der-mauer.de/index.php/de/Start/Index/id/652005

October 6: In the newspaper “Leipziger Volkszeitung,” under the headline “No more tolerance for subversion,” an article published under the name of the commander of the combat group contingent “Hans Geiffert,” Günter Lutz, says that, with regard to the forthcoming “Monday demonstration,” the combat groups are ready and willing “to protect what we have created with the work of our own hands and to put an end to these counter-revolutionary actions. If necessary, with weapon in hand.”
Mikhail Gorbachev arrives to take part in celebrations for the 40th anniversary of the GDR in Berlin on 6 November 1989

October 6/7: State ceremonies for the 40th anniversary of the GDR, attended by Mikhail Gorbachev, who is greeted with calls of “Gorbi, help us”. The West German TV programmes “Tageschau” and “Tagesthemen” report on the events of the day.

Mikhail Gorbachev, General Secretary

In a tête-à-tête between the two general secretaries, Honecker boasts about the GDR’s successes, especially praising the SED’S housing programme and East Germany allegedly leading worldwide position in the field of micro-electronics. Gorbachev, who is well aware that the GDR is really nearly insolvent, feels that he is being made a fool of.
40th anniversary of the GDR: Military parade of the National People’s Army, 7 October 1989

“I was horrified. I talked with him for three hours. … And he kept on wanting to convince me about the wonderful achievements of the GDR.”

In a spontaneous interview at the Neue Wache in East Berlin, Mikhail Gorbachev says the sentence “Danger only lies in wait for those who do not react to life!” Speaking to the SED Politburo, he modifies this sentence: “If we lag behind, life will punish us straight away.”
40th anniversary of the GDR: Gorbachev next to Honecker in the VIP stand

It is not Gorbachev, but his press secretary Gennadi Gerassimov, who in the evening turns this into the saying, “Life punishes those who come too late!”

On the evening of 7 October, young people demonstrate in front of the Palace of the Republic. On this evening and the next, the Volkspolizei carry out attacks and make mass arrests in East Berlin and other cities.

On the evening of the 40th anniversary of the founding of the GDR, thousands of people in the centre of East Berlin demonstrate for political reform

October 8: Erich Honecker tells the First Secretaries of the SED district leaderships that demonstrations of the day before “were directed against the constitutional basis of our socialist state.” He says that further “riots” are to be expected. He gives the command that, if such protests occur, “they are to be put down immediately.” Honecker instructs the district operation commands to meet without delay and discuss “measures”; the First Secretaries are told to report back to the Department of Party Organs of the Central Committee about the way the situation was developing.

Stasi chief Mielke also describes the domestic situation “as considerably more critical”. He orders all members of the Ministry of Security to be on “full standby duty” in order to effectively repress or stop all “mobs” and for enough reserve forces to be at the ready, “whose quick deployment to undertake , if needs be, offensive measures to stop and disperse mobs is to be ensured.” Stasi members are to keep their service weapons with them at all time until further notice. Reports by Western journalists on demonstrations are to be rigorously prevented. – Notwithstanding this, the dialogue between the opposition (“Gruppe der 202) and the district SED leadership begins in Dresden.

The GDR government deploys uniformed and civilian

October 9: “Tag der Entscheidung” (Decision Day) in Leipzig: 70,000 people demonstrate peacefully for reforms. Although the East German security authorities plan to prevent the demonstration and its staff have practised dispersing it and arresting the “ringleaders,” the state does not intervene. The unexpectedly large number of demonstrators breaks the security organs’ will to act. – In Halle and in Magdeburg, several thousand people also take part in demonstrations.

October 10: Talks between the mayor of Dresden, Wolfgang Berghofer, and the opposition awaken hopes that a dialogue may begin.

October 10/11: At the end of an unusually heated two-day crisis meeting, the SED Politburo announces that the party is ready to enter into a dialogue with the people. For the first time, the Politburo admits that the reasons why people are trying to flee are to be found in the GDR itself as well. It also puts forward its concept for the dialogue that is being demanded by so many people: “Together, we want to discuss all the fundamental questions of our society that are to be solved today and in the future. (…) These concern the continuation of the unity of economic and social policies. They concern economic efficiency and its benefit to all, a democratic coexistence and committed involvement, a good supply of commodities and adequate pay, realistic media, possibilities for travel and a healthy environment.” – Egon Krenz has pushed through this declaration against the bitter resistance of Honecker in the Politburo.

October 16: More than 100,000 people demonstrate in Leipzig. They demand that Neues Forum be permitted, free elections and freedom to travel, a free press and freedom of expression. Demonstrations with around 10,000 participants in Dresden and Magdeburg, 5,000 in Halle and 3,000 in Berlin also take place peacefully.

October 17/18: A fierce power struggle in the SED Politburo ends with the downfall of Erich Honecker, who is forced to cite health reasons as being behind his resignation from the SED Central Committee. Egon Krenz becomes the new SED general secretary. Krenz announces the credo for his policy of reform: “We are guided by the firm conviction that all the problems in our society can be solved politically.” In his inaugural address, Egon Krenz also promises “to prepare a draft bill regarding travel abroad for GDR citizens. We believe that this draft should be discussed and resolved upon in the People’s Parliament (Volkskammer) after being publicly announced. In connection with this, the temporary restrictions on travel to fellow socialist countries could also be lifted or modified.”

October 21: At a meeting of the extended leadership of the Ministry of Security, Stasi chief Mielke leaves little room for doubt that the party’s strategy of solving political problems with political means goes against his fundamental chekist convictions. It meant, Mielke says, not reacting to the “anti-socialist gatherings” in the way “these forces really deserve.” The fact that Mielke, even though he was not in agreement, categorically ruled out any independent policy of the ministry over the party’s head, had all the more decisive an effect on the behaviour of the Ministry of Security up to the time the Wall came down and even later. “In everything that we do,” he admonishes his top staff, “we must be absolutely clear that all measures undertaken by the Ministry of State Security, by every department, must be in accordance with the general strategy, the decisions of the Central Committee and its Politburo, and have to be directed at their strict implementation.” Force, he says, could only be used “if there is direct danger to people or objects that cannot be averted in any other way.” In the next few days, Mielke announces, central decisions would be made about how to proceed against opposition movements in future.

October 23: Three hundred thousand people demonstrate in Leipzig, tens of thousands in Magdeburg, Dresden, Schwerin, Zwickau, Halle, Stralsund and Berlin, as well as in Plauen and Rostock during the previous days.

October 24: The SED Politburo passes a resolution on “Trips by GDR citizens abroad”: “1. A draft bill on travel abroad by GDR citizens and proposals for financing this travel are to be presented to the Politburo soon. (…) 2. An argumentation is to be worked out [as a basis for] a broad discussion of the draft bill.”

October 26: On this day alone, the Ministry of Security counts 160,000 citizens who, at demonstrations in the districts Rostock, Erfurt, Gera, Schwerin, Chemnitz, Neubrandenburg, Dresden and Halle, call above all for free elections, the free formation of opposition groups and freedom to travel. Whereas the Ministry for Security registered altogether 140,000 demonstrators at 24 demonstrations in the week from 16 to 22 October, from 23 to 30 October 540,000 people take part in 145 demonstrations. Leading SED functionaries no longer rule out the imposition of a state of emergency. In a twenty-minute conversation with West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, SED General Secretary Egon Kreuz states his interest in placing relations with West Germany “on a – if I may put it like this – on a new level”. Chancellery Minister Seiters and state secretary Schalck-Golodkowski are named as confidants.

October 27: The GDR State Council announces an amnesty for all refugees and participants in demonstrations. – The GDR Council of Ministers decides to lift the “temporary ban on travel without passport or visa” to the CSSR that was imposed on October 3. From this moment on, GDR citizens are meant to be able to cross the border to the CSSR again with their identity card.

October 31: The USA and the Soviet Union organise a summit on Malta scheduled for 2/3 December.

October 31: The SED Politburo discusses a white paper by five leading economists on the “Analysis of the Economic Situation of the GDR with Conclusions”. To avoid the necessary lowering of the living standard by 25 to 30 percent and the imminent insolvency of the GDR, they recommend offering the West German government the Wall in return for urgently needed new loans and extended economic cooperation.

In October, 57,024 GDR citizens manage to flee to the West; 30,598 people are allowed to leave the GDR with permission.

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