This article from the Werra Rundschau’s January 1, 2020 issue, about the festivities marking the 30thanniversary of the border opening between Kella and Braunrod, describes the improvisation that was necessary to set up a border crossing in the absence of any guidance from “above”. The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, had thrown the GDR government into disintegration and made the border between the two German states meaningless but still impassable outside the few official crossings. East and West Germany were still two separate states, though, and nobody knew what the future would bring – Reunification? A federation? Separate states on new and improved terms?
Understandably, people in the border villages did not want to wait for all of this to be sorted out. One of the people who stepped up and improvised was Dr. Werner Henning, who had just been elected council president of the district that includes Kella – no one else had wanted the job. In record time, he organized a phone line, electricity, customs officials, and a simple checkpoint booth, and on December 30, 1989, the people of Kella were able to freely cross to Braunrod again. The article quotes the mayor of the neighboring community on the Hessian (West German) side: “Elsewhere these days, borders are again being built, but we are glad that this border no longer exists.”
Click here for my memories of my own first crossing to the “other Germany” after the fall of the Berlin Wall.