On the trail of the Peaceful Revolution
Autumn '89 in Leipzig
Leipzig's citizens - who in 1989, following the traditional prayers for peace in the Nikolai church, initially marched as hundreds, later hundreds of thousands to the inner city ring - were no longer satisfied with superficial changes. The pivotal day of the Peaceful Revolution was 9 October 1989 in Leipzig, when 70,000 protesters, crying "We are the People!" and "No Violence!" overthrew the SED regime.
With their courage, their strong will and their renunciation of violence, they made history. The moving images from the Monday Demonstrations in Autumn 1989 reached every corner of the world. These depicted determined people within an unyielding society, who demanded the fundamentals of democracy peacefully.
Leipzig, the stepchild of the GDR state, found its voice using peaceful means. Through this, national history was made in Leipzig and the foundations of German Reunification were laid. A historic event, without which today's European Union would not have come into existence.
One month after the pivotal Monday Demonstration in Leipzig, the Berlin Wall fell during the night of 9 November.
In keeping with the motto, "Autumn '89 – Birth of Democracy“ the city commemorates the events leading up to the Peaceful Revolution every year. On 9 October, the municipal remembrance day, the Festival of Lights is always the highlight of this collection of events. Thousands of inhabitants and visitors to the city meet in Augustusplatz and remember the events of 1989 against the backdrop of atmospheric illuminations.
9 October – Decision Day
9 October 1989 is, as the decision day, a key date in the Peaceful Revolution. The peaceful demonstration march around the city of around 70,000 citizens of Leipzig and all of Central Germany, defied the enormous threat from the State Authorities and represented a turning point in the events of Autumn 1989.
For this reason, the city of Leipzig turned 9 October - the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Peaceful Revolution in 2009 - into an annual municipal remembrance day. 9 October is permanently anchored into the collective memory of the city as the "Day of Freedom".
The Prayer for Peace, Speech on Democracy and the Leipzig Festival of Lights are the core events.