French President Nicolas Sarkozy has shared his memories of the fall of the Berlin Wall, telling how he chipped away at the concrete slabs with a pickaxe in November 1989.


Sarkozy posted his personal account a day before he heads to Berlin to join European leaders for joyous celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the collapse of the Wall.

The president recounted that he travelled to Berlin from Paris on the morning of November 9 after hearing the first news reports of the mass influx of East Germans to West Berlin.

Then a 34-year-old member of parliament, Sarkozy was with other French politicians who headed straight for the Brandenburg gates “where an enthusiastic crowd had gathered to welcome the looming opening of the Wall”.

‘Defender of freedom’

“We then headed for Checkpoint Charlie to see the eastern side of the city and finally confront this wall and I was able to take a pickaxe to it,” recounted Sarkozy.

“Around us, families were gathering to knock down the cement. Some shared their feelings with us, their new ambitions and their emotions after decades of separation,” he added.

“The night continued in a climate of general enthusiasm: the German people were reunited, heralding the end of the Cold War and the beginning of a period of great freedom in Europe.

“It is this freedom that we are still defending in Europe and that we are celebrating 20 years on,” wrote Sarkozy.

A picture of a younger Sarkozy standing next to an unidentified man and chipping away at the graffiti-pocked Berlin Wall was posted on the Facebook page.