The Berlin Wall was erected in 1961 and it came down Nov. 9,1989 — it was a historic structure separating West Berlin from East Berlin. It was erected to keep East Germans from defecting to West Germany.

Saturday is the 30th anniversary of the Wall coming down. The Wall symbolized the Cold War that separated Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc. Germany was divided after World War II into the Eastern Bloc (Soviet Union) and the western part, under the control of the Allied countries, including the United States.

The demise of the Wall also became a symbol of the breakup of the Soviet Union. A series of revolutions in nearby Eastern Bloc countries — Poland and Hungary in particular — in 1989 spread to East Germany and Germans from the east and west joined in demonstrations that included tearing down the Wall. On Nov. 9, 1989, the Soviets announced that East Germans could visit West Germany and that was the official beginning of reunification of the east with the west.

Prior to the erection of the Wall, it has been estimated that 3.5 million East Germans entered the western sector, mainly through Berlin to escape the Russians. The purpose of the Wall by Russia was to stop the defections fo the west. While the Wall was up, an estimated 100,000 people tried to escape, with more than 5,000 successful. The death toll of people trying to escape the east in and around Berlin was estimated to be about 200.

Reunification of Germany officially took place in October 1990.