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Merkel: Solidarity helped bring down the Wall

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 10.11.2014 07:30
The Berlin Wall would not have collapsed on 9 November 1989 without Poland's and other peaceful revolutions in the region, Chancellor Merkel said during 25th anniversary celebrations, Sunday.

Balloons of installation 'Border of Lights' are released into the sky at East Side Gallery in Berlin, Germany, 09 November: photo - EPA/RAINER JENSEN EPA/LUKAS SCHULZE

“Germany will never forget that these independence and liberation movements in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe paved the way for the happiest moment in our recent history,” Angela Merkel said while opening a new permanent exhibition on the history and fall of a lasting symbol of communist oppression.

The communist German Democratic Republic (GDR) government built the wall in 1961 to stop defections to capitalist western Berlin, leading to 138 people dying while attempting to flee to the other side.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and her husband Joachim Sauer (L) during the citizens' festival at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, 09 November: photo - EPA/KAY NIETFELD Dostawca: PAP/EPA.

Merkel mentioned the Solidarity trade union, Czechoslovakia’s Charter 77 and Hungary opening its border with Austria as major factors which led to the historic events 25 years ago in Berlin, and thanked Lech Walesa, former Hungarian prime minister Miklos Nemeth and last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev for attending the celebrations.

Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit (L-R), German plitical balladeer Wolf Biermann, German president Joachim Gauck, and for Polish President Lech Walesa stand before balloons of Light of Border installation are released ito the sky during the citizens' festival at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, 09 November: photo - EPA/BERND VON JUTRCZENKA

The fall of the Berlin Wall is proof that "the dream of freedom can come true,” she said, adding that this message is especially important to those living through conflict in Ukraine, Syria and Iraq.

Balloons were released into the sky at 7.18 pm local time, when the first of the East Germans began to clamber over the wall 25 years ago. (pg)

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