30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has called for the demolition of new walls in politics and society. At central commemorative events, tens of thousands of people celebrated a Wallfall party at the Brandenburg Gate in the evening.
Three decades after overcoming the division of Germany, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has warned of new walls in politics and society. On the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall he called on Berlin to tear it down again and fight for democracy and cohesion.
At the central commemoration ceremony on the former death strip in the capital, Chancellor Angela Merkel also urged to defend freedom gained in 1989 against new hostilities.
After the official commemoration with the heads of the state, tens of thousands of people celebrated a merry fall at the Brandenburg Gate in the evening. Also in many other places along the former German-German border as in the Bavarian-Thuringian MOdlareuth was commemorated the end of the division 30 years ago.
Steinmeier: "New walls have been created across our country"
At the Brandenburg Gate, the President said that the Berlin Wall was gone once and for all. "But across our country new walls have been created: walls of frustration, walls of anger and hatred, walls of speechlessness and alienation, walls that are invisible but still divide, walls that stand in the way of our cohesion."
The Berlin Wall had built the GDR regime. "But we have built the new walls in our own country, and only we ourselves can tear them down," said Steinmeier and demanded with great applause: "Let's finally tear down these walls!"
On November 9, 1989, the SED regime, under heavy social and economic pressure, opened the wall that had divided Berlin into East and West since 1961. The peaceful revolution in the GDR enabled the end of the division of Germany after about 40 years, in 1990 Germany was reunited.
Merkel also recalled the pogrom night on 9 November 1938 and the subsequent "humanity crime" of the Holocaust. "The 9th of November, which reflects in a special way both the terrible and the happy moments in our history, reminds us that we must resolutely oppose hatred, racism and anti-Semitism," she said. "He urges us to do everything in our power to defend freedom and democracy, human dignity and the rule of law."
Steinmeier had also invited the heads of state of Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary – Zuzana Caputova, Milos Zeman, Andrzej Duda and Janos Ader – to Berlin. "Without the courage and the will to freedom of the Poles and Hungarians, the Czechs and Slovaks, the peaceful revolutions in Eastern Europe and German unity would not have been possible," he said.
Merkel stressed that the demolition of the wall in 1989 showed: "No wall that excludes people and limits freedom is so high or so broad that it can not be broken."
Trump: Destiny of the Berlin Wall must be "doctrine for repressive regimes"
Similarly, US President Donald Trump said in an official message to the Germans. The fate of the Berlin Wall must be a "doctrine for repressive regimes and rulers everywhere," it said: "No Iron Curtain can ever hold back the iron will of a people determined to be free." Trump called Germany one of the "most valued" US partners.
During the commemoration of Bernauer Strasse, Steinmeier, Merkel and other high-ranking politicians such as the Bundestag President Wolfgang Schauble (CDU) and Berlin's Mayor Michael Muller (SPD) put roses in the wall left over there for the victims.
According to scientific findings, at least 140 people died at the approximately 160-kilometer-long barrage in the capital through the GDR border regime. To commemorate the courage of the GDR opposition in the fall of 1989, candles were lit. Candles carried on demonstrations were then the symbol of non-violent resistance.
In a devotion, the evangelical bishop of Berlin and Brandenburg, Markus DrOge, said the memory of the peaceful revolution was more thoughtful this year than five years ago. The attack on the synagogue in Halle had all startled. In addition, the social discussions have become sharper. Also be formulated more clearly, what radical upheavals the East Germans would have experienced in work and everyday life after 1989.
The CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer recalled the courage of the East Germans and wrote on Twitter: "Even today it's about courage and confidence." Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) said in Berlin, the legacy of 1989 "commits us, and especially us Germans, to create a Europe that lives up to the dreams and values of those who took to the streets in 1989".
With their peaceful revolution, the people of the GDR first made it possible for the fall of the Berlin Wall and almost a year later the reunification of Germany. We look back at events 30 years ago with moving photos.