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  • Writer's pictureKarl Koerber

November 9 – Germany’s “Day of Fate”

Updated: Nov 20, 2022

This is one of the paintings on the 1.3 kilomtre-long remnant of the Berlin Wall known as the East Side Gallery, from my visit there in 2015.

Today (November 9, 1919) marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Was it a coincidence that the wall came down on this particular date? I think not. November 9 has long been a day of important and even earth-shattering events in German history.

On this date in 1918, chancellor Max von Baden announced the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II, and the new German Republic, a liberal democracy, was declared.

On November 9, 1922, Albert Einstein was named the winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics. While Einstein was visiting the United States in 1933, he avoided the possibility of Nazi persecution as a Jew in Germany by remaining in America.

This stamp was issued by the Nazi government to commemorate the failed putsch of November 9, 1923.

The Beer Hall Putsch, a failed attempt by Adolf Hitler to take control of Munich, ended on November 9, 1923, when 16 of Hitler’s co-conspirators were killed and Hitler was arrested and subsequently imprisoned. The Nazis later made this date a national holiday.

November 9, 1938 was the culmination of Kristallnacht, the Nazi antisemitic rampage that destroyed many synagogues and killed up to 400 Jews.

Also in 1938, a Swiss theology student, Maurice Bauvard, chose November 9 to carry out a plan to shoot Hitler as he passed by during a parade in Munich. Bauvard had to abandon his plan because couldn’t get a clear shot and was later intercepted by the Gestapo on his way back to Paris. He was subsequently executed.

Finally, as mentioned, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the opening of the protected border between East and West Germany took place on November 9, 1989.

The label of Schicksalstag, or day of fate, for the 9th of November is well-deserved.

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