Michael Schmidt, © Auswärtiges Amt
1990 – 1994
[...] It was by a good chance that, on a demand by the Mayor of Montreal for a symbolic gift from other big cities on the occasion of Montreal’s 350th anniversary, we could offer a piece of the Berlin Wall (including graffiti). [...]
The posting to Montreal as one of the leading, cosmopolitan, culturally active mondaine metropolises has always been welcomed among colleagues in contrast to “civil servant capitals” like Canberra and Ottawa. To our delight, 5 years at Abidjan were followed by 4 years at Montreal as our before-last post.
During my 4 years of service ( 1990-94 ) occurred the legal reunification of Germany. On 3 October 1990 this unique event gave reason to my following program: At the International Civil Aviation Organization ICAO, handing over of a document of international law stating our legal succession of the GDR after the adherence of the former to the Federal Republic of Germany. Solemn meeting at the German School with planting of an oak tree which hopefully should have grown to size after now 27 years. Reception on the occasion of our first new National Day for government representatives,Consular Corps and the German community at Mount Stephen Club to which,to our surprise , ICAO-President Assad Kotaite “brought along” all country representatives as a gesture of good will. The mood was full of friendly expectation, an end of the Cold War seemed launched.
It was by a good chance that, on a demand by the Mayor of Montreal for a symbolic gift from other big cities on the occasion of Montreal’s 350th anniversary, we could offer a piece of the Berlin Wall (including graffiti). The Senate of Berlin took charge of the transport Cif. The City of Montreal obtained the names of all the victims,when fleeing, conserved the piece of wall professionally and determined its place at the main entrance of the World Trade Center. Finally,the German author Fritz Grasshoff living near Montreal contributed an inscription which explained the significance of the fall of the Wall As a link between humans dedicated to freedom, in a poetic way. After lengthy administrative procedures, the wall was put into place long after my departure.
In the building of the chancery there was also the legal firm of which former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was a partner. In return for a briefing on the political situation in Germany shortly before a trip to Berlin, he gave us the honour of his presence at a larger dinner at the residence in Avenue de Ramezay ( to which he came on foot over snow and ice ) and to our farewell reception at Mount Stephen Club. His son evidently inherited his political talent.
Of our 30 years of service abroad, we spent 20 at 5 postings in Africa and all together 10 years in Beirut, Colombo and Montreal. As recognizable from the above account, we liked to work in Montreal, which has engraved itself as a shining jewel and gratefully into the memory of my active time of duty.