Firsthand accounts from different perspectives discussed 20 years after German reunification
Dr. Gunter Pleuger - Dr. Pleuger experienced German reunification while a diplomat in Washington. From November 2002 to July 2006 he served as Germany's ambassador to the United Nations in New York. In February 2003 he served as President of the UN Security Council. Earlier he held the posts of Political Director and State Secretary in the German Foreign Office. Since 1 October 2008, he has been the President of the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder). After serving in a number of posts in the Foreign Office, including that of State Secretary and Head of the Department of Human Rights from 1998 to 2002, he took over leadership of Germany's permanent mission to the UN. He represented Germany there, and especially in the Security Council, of which Germany was a non-permanent member in 2003 and 2004. Pleuger became a public figure during the diplomatic crisis preceding the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Germany held the presidency of the UN Security Council during that time and Pleuger represented Berlin's stance on the issue.
Prof. Horst Teltschik – As foreign policy adviser to former chancellor Helmut Kohl, Teltschik played a decisive role in the Final Settlement Treaty (also known as the Two Plus Four agreement) that paved the way for German reunification. Born in Moravia in 1940, he fled with his family at the end of the Second World War to Bavaria, where he settled at Lake Tegernsee. After his military service, Teltschik studied political science at the Free University of Berlin. In 1972 he was asked by Helmut Kohl, then State Premier of Rhineland-Pfalz, to serve on his staff in Mainz. When Kohl became opposition leader in parliament, Teltschik served as his chief of staff at the Bundestag from 1977 to 1982. After Kohl became German Chancellor in 1982, Teltschik was one of his closest confidantes. Analysts say that Teltschik was instrumental in persuading Kohl to push for German unity following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Teltschik also played a significant role in negotiations with the Soviet Union and Poland. Soon after reunification Teltschik left the Chancellor's Office. From 1999 to 2008 as director of the annual Munich Security Conference he attracted leading politicians to join the February conference.
Rolf Ocken – In 1990, Bundeswehr officer Rolf Ocken was given the task of dismantling the Berlin Wall and dissolving East Germany's 50,000-strong corps of border guards. The parliamentary elections of 2 December 1990, were the first free vote in reunited Germany and it was considered unseemly for them to take place among the remains of a totalitarian regime. Ocken was ordered to supervise the removal of the wall inside the city by election day. Ocken was born in Braunschweig in 1939. He joined the Bundeswehr in 1959, trained in its General Staff from 1970 to 1972, and served in the upper echelons of the NATO command, as military attaché in Belgrade, in the Defense Ministry as well as with troops. On 30 November 1990, the last piece of the Wall in Berlin's city center was removed.