"The freedoms that arose then, the opportunities, that was fantastic. But we were overwhelmed, there was just so much that had changed."
Bernadette Kern moved with her husband to Berlin in 1984. Active in the Catholic church before the fall of the Wall, she was closely involved in the East German Ecumenical Assembly for Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation. Despite having three small children, the youngest born in 1989, she seized the opportunity in autumn 1989 to become politically active and help shape the changes in East Berlin and later in unified Berlin. She took part in the Friedrichshain round table, representing the citizens’ movement "Demokratie Jetzt", and was voted on to the Friedrichshain district council at the first free local elections in May 1990, and later to Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg and Marzahn-Hellersdorf councils. A physicist by profession, in 1991 she was laid off by the hospital in Görlitz that employed her and worked for a time on an EU project. Since 1998 she has worked as a freelance environmental educator in schools. Now living in Berlin-Biesdorf, she is still politically active and especially committed to climate protection.