The Independent

Berlin honours those who died crossing the Wall
The Independent

Berlin’s mayor said yesterday that he was appalled some Germans were nostalgic for the Berlin Wall and supported a newly fashionable leftist view that there were legitimate reasons for building it in 1961. At a sombre ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the wall’s construction, Mayor Klaus Wowereit, Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Christian Wulff paid tribute to the 136 people killed trying to get over the wall to West Berlin.

Mr Wowereit said the wall, toppled in 1989, should serve as a reminder of freedom and democracy around the world. Church bells pealed while trains and traffic came to a standstill at noon across the city for a moment of silence for the victims.

« We don’t have any tolerance for those who nostalgically distort the history of the Berlin Wall and Germany’s division, » Mr Wowereit said at the ceremony in front of a small section of the wall recently rebuilt for posterity. « The wall was part of a dictatorship, » he said. « And it’s alarming that even today some people argue there were good reasons to build the wall. No! There’s no legitimate reason, nor justification, for violating human rights and for killings. »