BERLIN — Europe “must stand up for democracy and freedom, for human rights and tolerance,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday as Germany commemorated the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Such values “must always be lived out and defended anew,” Merkel told political leaders and European guests at a ceremony, warning that these freedoms cannot be taken for granted.
Speaking in the Reconciliation Chapel on the former “death strip” that ran alongside the wall, the chancellor said that the barrier that divided communist East from democratic West was “history.”
Merkel herself grew up in East Germany and was a scientist working in Berlin on November 9, 1989.
That communist authorities finally opened border crossings that day “teaches us that no wall that shuts people out and limits freedom is so tall or broad that it cannot be broken through,” Merkel said.
The chancellor and guests including the presidents of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia had earlier been invited to stick roses through holes in a section of wall still standing at the Bernauer Strasse memorial, just north of central Berlin.
Groups of schoolchildren from around Europe, including war-torn Ukraine, also spoke in their native languages to the leaders about the emotions the anniversary wakens for them.
The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.
We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.
Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.