The East German Round Table was not round. The first two meetings in the Bonhoeffer Haus in Berlin’s Mitte district as well as the following 14 meetings held at Schloss Schönhausen in the city’s Pankow district saw participants from state organisations and from the new GDR (German Democratic Republic) opposition groups gather at a set of tables arranged in a rectangle.   

(for an introduction on the Central Round Table of the GDR in German click HERE)

An actual round table (see photograph above) was used on February 13, 1990, for a meeting between federal German politicians and a delegation of the GDR government, which included representatives of the East German Round Table. The Round Table had sent a statement with the delegation requesting that the West German Kohl administration stabilise the GDR with a loan of 15 billion deutschmark. The request was denied, as were all requests made by the East Germans.

A gathering of members of the left GDR opposition took place on September 20, 1990 at another Round Table outside of the Palast der Republik (parliament of the GDR). Inside, the majority of representatives from the GDR’s last parliament voted for the GDR to join the Federal Republic of Germany according to the conditions of the German Reunification Treaty, while outside the opposition demonstrated in protest at a symbolic Round Table in the form of a cable reel. The reel came from the Kabelwerk Oberspree cable plant, whose staff faced the threat of mass layoffs since the plant had been taken over by the GDR’s Treuhand (trust agency established to re/privatise GDR enterprises post-unification).