Merkel leads Berlin in Wall ceremony

Merkel leads Berlin in Wall ceremony

Chancellor Merkel and Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit at the Berlin Wall memorial site

German Chancellor Angela Merkel led celebrations today marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, calling it an example of the human yearning for freedom.

Ms Merkel said the celebrations also honoured those who helped bring down the barrier that for 28 years symbolised the Cold War.

On the night of November 9, 1989, thousands of East Berliners streamed through the once-closed border crossings after communist authorities caved in to mounting pressure and relaxed travel restrictions that had prevented their citizens from going to the west for decades.

“The fall of the Wall has shown us that dreams can come true,” Ms Merkel said at the main memorial site for the Wall on Bernauer Strasse.

“Nothing has to stay the way it is, however big the hurdles are.”

Merkel leads Berlin in Wall ceremony

Merkel, Wowereit and State Minister of Culture Monike Gruetters

The fall of the Wall was the climax of weeks of popular protests spurred by changes that had already taken place elsewhere in eastern Europe.

Ms Merkel noted the important examples set by the democracy movements in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, and praised East Germans who were inspired by them to stand up to the dictatorship.

She also honoured the many who suffered under the communist regime, including the 138 people who died at the Wall.

Merkel leads Berlin in Wall ceremony

A man places a flower into a crack at the Bernauer Strasse memorial. Pictures: AP

Ms Merkel noted that November 9 is a significant date in Germany history also for being the day when, in 1938, Nazi paramilitaries launched a pogrom against the country’s Jewish population in what became known as Reichskristallnacht - the “Night of Broken Glass”.

“That was the opening note for the murder of millions,” said Ms Merkel, adding that on November 9 each year “I feel not just joy, but the responsibility that German history burdens us with”.

More in this Section

Men who filmed themselves raping a woman in a Soho club facing jailMen who filmed themselves raping a woman in a Soho club facing jail

Extinction Rebellion launches legal action over London protest banExtinction Rebellion launches legal action over London protest ban

Google unveils Pixel 4 phone with ‘astrophotography’ capabilityGoogle unveils Pixel 4 phone with ‘astrophotography’ capability

Egypt announces discovery of ancient coffins at site in LuxorEgypt announces discovery of ancient coffins at site in Luxor


Lifestyle

I am dating a lovely guy. However, he seems really awkward about being naked in front of me.Sex File: Boyfriend keeps his T-shirt on during sex

To instantly power up your look, veer towards the hard shoulder.Bold shoulder: How to instantly power up your look

Plums are a wonderful autumn fruit, useful for all sorts of recipes both sweet and savoury. In Ireland we are blessed with wonderfully sweet plums.Currabinny Cooks: Juicy plums work for both sweet and savoury dishes

The rise of home skincare devices doesn't mean that salons and clinics no longer serve a purpose.The Skin Nerd: Don’t try this at home — new treatments in the salon

More From The Irish Examiner