10 November 2009

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour interviews Jan-Christoph Zoels

Be the first to share

Jan-Christoph Zoels
Check out Experientia partner Jan-Christoph Zoels’s superb appearance on CNN’s Christiane Amanpour show yesterday… vividly describing how as an opposition member, he was among the first East Germans to cross into West Berlin for the first time when the Germans messed up their plans, and inadvertently started letting people through.

Christiane said she loved it, we were told.

This show, which is available in 250 million homes and businesses around the world and started off with Jan-Christoph’s vivid recollections, can be seen online here.

Here is his written recollection of the events, now twenty years ago:

“My memories of November 9th, 2009

It was a very dark Thursday night. I was one of the first few hundred who waited at the checkpoint Bornholmer Strasse to go and see West Berlin.

And here’s why:

That evening a group of writers and artists met at the house of one of the co-founders of the “Neues Forum” – New Forum – the first independent political movement of East Germany. The assembled group was the communications brain of the organization. Together we had prepared leaflets, posters, and press statements.

During the meeting that evening we discussed the cryptic announcement by the central committee of the communist party of East Germany. We knew that changes would be happening to the travel permissions of people who wanted to leave East Germany forever. What surprised us that evening was that the general traveling rights for everybody would be expanded – like the right to get a visa to visit the West…

About 22.00 I left home to work on a press statement for the next morning. My best friend Sabine came about 22.50 and asked me to get whatever western money I had and come with her by bike to the checkpoint Bornholmer Strasse. She said that West German TV had just announced that people could now visit the West, even though very few were able to get through.

We raced with our bicycles to the checkpoint ca 10 min away and arrived at a waiting crowd of several hundred people – shouting to open the wall. Ca 30-45 later we were let through a small gate, our passports were stamped (originally to prevent us from re-entering), then we went through a row of border facilities, and arrived on a bridge leading to West Berlin.

On this evening, I saw many people crying. I clearly remember another friend and co-founder of the opposition movement, a scientist, weeping like a child, as we moved through the border.

Sabine and I persuaded a taxi driver to take us nearly for free to our best West Berliner friends. After many years of their visits we were finally able to reciprocate. We laughed, cried, toasted to this new won feeling.

Later that night I went to see Reie, the sister of my former girlfriend. Reie had left East Germany some years earlier and was forbidden to re-enter. Together with her boyfriend Sascha A, later identified as a spy for the secret service STASI, we drove through Berlin by night, climbed the wall on the Brandenburg Gate, gathered some friends and celebrated through the night.

The next morning Reie drove me back to the check point to go to work. I arrived late to the private design studio in which I worked. My boss welcomed me with the statement, “The fall of wall is not a reason to come too late to work”. I knew then I would change work soon.”

Be the first to share
2 July 2015
Getting citizens involved in protecting fragile energy environments
A new project funded under the FP7 European Commission framework is getting citizens involved in testing new tools for reducing energy consumption during peak loads, in the hope that its pilot program will set the …
5 May 2015
Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록 in Design 4 Disaster
Design 4 Disaster features an engaging illustrated safety manual for ship passengers, a personal project by Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록. After the Korean ferry accident last year, Yuluck (who is Korean) wanted to …
16 March 2015
Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years
Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare …
1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live
Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make …
19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned
Experientia's Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We …
27 November 2014
Why the world needs anthropologists – an update
Why the world needs anthropologists - Coming out of the ivory tower Location: Padua, Italy, Centro Culturale Altinate/San Gaetano Date and time: Friday, 5 December 2014, 13:00 – 18:00 Padua, Italy, 5 December 2014 - The second edition …
30 October 2014
The BancoSmart ATM by Experientia for UniCredit selected for ADI Design Index
Last year Experientia designed the interface of an ATM of UniCredit, a major Italian bank. The interface is now rolled out across the bank's ATMs in Italy, to great satisfaction of the bank and the …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

2 July 2015
Getting citizens involved in protecting fragile energy environments

A new project funded under the FP7 European Commission framework is getting citizens involved in testing new tools for reducing energy consumption during peak loads, in the hope that its pilot program will set the new state of the art for protecting locations with fragile electricity supplies. One of France’s most fragile regions The Provence-Alpes-Côte […]

5 May 2015
Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록 in Design 4 Disaster

Design 4 Disaster features an engaging illustrated safety manual for ship passengers, a personal project by Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록. After the Korean ferry accident last year, Yuluck (who is Korean) wanted to find a way to make safety manuals more interesting to read. He spent one year designing an interactive safety guide […]

16 March 2015
Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years

Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare professionals do to help them keep active? What role can technology play in the elderly’s daily lives? Design consultants […]

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned

Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.

See all articles