In a normal year, a momentous 30-year anniversary would call for an evening dinner, or at the very least a reception, hosted by the German Consulate General in Atlanta.
But with the pandemic still afoot, Consul General Heike Fuller had to settle for a video message to mark German Reunification Day Oct. 3, the date three decades ago when East and West Germany officially came back together.
“My colleagues and I would have very much enjoyed celebrating with you, sharing a glass of German wine and tasting German food,” Dr. Fuller said in a YouTube video linked from an email Friday morning. “However, our new reality forces us to go digital, which I see as an opportunity to speak to many more of you than I would usually have a chance to.”
In the video, Dr. Fuller stood before a segment of the Berlin Wall (one of at least three in Atlanta) erected at Kennesaw State University in time for last year’s 30th-anniversary commemorations of the barrier’s fall, which occurred in November 1989, nearly a year before reunification was fully achieved.
As she has at many events in Atlanta, from vigils at the Atlanta International School to speeches at Jewish congregations, the consul general once again recalled the jubilation she observed in Germany at that moment, noting that when separated, these tall concrete slabs now stand as monuments to how partnership can overcome division.
“Reunification meant access to freedom and new opportunities for many Germans, mainly east Germans. Thirty years of German unity and freedom in a united Europe also mark the precious bonds of German-American friendship and cooperation. This is most valuable to us, and here in the Southeast we appreciate very much our strong economic partnership and the many diverse people-to-people contacts.”
In November 2019, Dr. Fuller and her staff visited many schools to talk about the wall’s fall, the event that culminated nearly a half-century of U.S. effort to restore Germany’s economic and political integrity after its defeat in World War II.
During a wide-ranging Consular Conversation interview with Global Atlanta in December, she said she could have never envisioned the two sides linking up again.
“I grew up honestly thinking that this country will always be separated. It was unthinkable.”
Learn more about the German Consulate General or get in touch here.