Germans re-enact fall of Berlin Wall with car parade

Clay Curtis
November 10, 2019

Merkel will speak at the Chapel of Reconciliation, which stands on a stretch of the former Berlin Wall border strip where local people jumped from windows the day the wall was built to escape the communist East, while others later dug tunnels towards the West.

But in a swipe at Trump's America First policy and his insistence on building a wall on the southern border with Mexico, Steinmeier voiced a yearning for a return of the transatlantic partner of the past. We look to that moment as we see the battle for democracy enter a new phase.

Trump also sent a warning to tyrannical regimes around the world that continue to employ the oppressive tactics of Soviet-style totalitarianism.

For Steinmeier, "a new wall has arisen that cuts through our country-a wall of frustration, a wall of anger and hate".

The Berlin Wall made the Iron Curtain visible.

In an interview at that museum with Arts.21, Udo Lindenberg talks about the era of German division, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the situation now, thirty years later, in a unified Germany.

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier paid tribute to Germany's neighbours while speaking to the ceremony and said, "Without the courage of the will to freedom of the Poles and Hungarians, the Czechs and Slovaks, the peaceful revolutions in Eastern Europe and Germany's reunification would not have been possible".

In Berlin on Saturday, Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Wall should remind Germans "that we have to do our part for freedom and democracy".

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Such values "must always be lived out and defended anew", Merkel told political leaders and European guests at a ceremony, warning that these freedoms can not be taken for granted.

"She also recalled that November 9 remains a fraught date in German history, as it also marks the anniversary of the so-called Night of Broken Glass, an anti-Jewish pogrom in 1938 that foreshadowed the Nazi's Holocaust.Light installations, concerts and public debates were planned throughout the city and other parts of Germany to mark the fall of the Wall, including a concert at Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate".

But the optimism for liberal democracy has waned in the last years.

There has been a rise in the far-right in many European countries, while the governments of EU countries such as Poland and Hungary have been accused of undermining the rule of law. It dramatized some of the differences between East and West in sharp, concrete terms.

Two days before the date that brought epochal change, France's President Emmanuel Macron dropped a bombshell, declaring that transatlantic partnership North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was suffering from "brain death" and that Europe itself was "on the brink".

Merkel responded with uncharacteristic sharpness, calling such "sweeping judgements" unnecessary.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also attended the ceremonies to mark the fall of the Berlin Wall.

In a tweet on Saturday, Macron also urged Europeans to uphold the hopes for freedom that drove East Germans in 1989 to bring the Wall down. Today, we remember those who perished at the hands of totalitarian regimes, and we recommit to ensuring a freer and more just future.

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