FACTBOX: November 9 not just a Berlin Wall red letter day

Wed Nov 4, 2009 9:09am EST
 
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(Reuters) - The 20th anniversary of the opening of the Berlin Wall on November 9 will coincide with other significant 20th-century anniversaries for Germany, some far darker:

Nov 9, 1918 - As defeat approached in World War One, Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated and Social Democrat Philip Scheidemann declared Germany's first republic from a window of the Berlin Reichstag parliament building. Known as the Weimar Republic, it collapsed in 1933 when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party exploited its weaknesses to seize power.

November 9, 1923 - Launched in a Munich Beer Hall the night before, Hitler's first attempt to seize power -- the Beer Hall Putsch -- quickly fizzled and the Nazi leader was imprisoned.

November 9, 1925 - The Nazi Schutzstaffel -- the SS -- was founded. The elite armed wing of the party, it spearheaded the genocide of Jewish people throughout Europe.

November 9, 1938 - Nazi thugs went on the rampage against Jews and Jewish property. At least 91 Jews were killed, 26,000 rounded up to be sent to concentration camps and thousands of synagogues, shops and other Jewish buildings were damaged. The broken glass that littered the streets of Berlin and other cities next morning gave the pogrom a name -- "Kristallnacht" (Crystal Night).

November 9, 1989 - The Communist leadership of East Germany, clutching at straws to win back popular support for the impoverished regime, opened the Berlin Wall and the frontier with West Germany. Within a year, the two Germanys were reunited.

(Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit; Editing by Ralph Boulton)