Germany remembers victims of Berlin Wall on 60th anniversary

Berlin, Aug 13 (EFE).- The Berlin Wall, construction of which began on this day 60 years ago, is a “testimony to a hopeless failure,” the German president said Friday.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier was speaking at an event on the Bernauer Strasse, where the wall was erected 60 years ago.

“The wall was the clear sign of a non-lawful state that in the eyes of its own citizens was neither legitimate nor sovereign. It was in fact the beginning of the end, which was still a long time coming,” Steinmeier said during his speech.

The construction of the wall, which was supposed to represent the “sovereign act of a state that most sought international recognition” was, in reality, “the recognition that not even its own citizens recognized that state,” he said.

August 13, 1961 was a “misfortune” for Germans and for the whole world in which “the worst fears came true” and “the iron curtain that divided Berlin, Germany, Europe and the world was completely closed for an indeterminate period of time,” he said.

The Berlin Wall “literally cemented the Cold War division of the world,” he added.

“When, on November 9, we celebrate the fall of the wall, the spring in the middle of the cold autumn, then we must also remember August 13 (1961), the beginning of a glacial period in the middle of summer,” he said.

He referred to the words uttered by the head of state of communist East Germany Walter Ulbricht, who two months earlier on June 15, 1961, had said that “nobody intends to build a wall,” a statement which Steinmeier called “one of the most shameless lies (…) in German history.”

The wall baptized by the communist authorities as “anti-fascist protection wall” was built not to prevent incursions and maneuvers by the West, but “by a state that had to lock in its own citizens in order to be able to continue functioning, at least for a while longer,” he said.

When Germany remembers the construction of the wall, it also remembers the dead, the wounded, the prisoners and all those who “put their lives on the line for freedom,” Steinmeier added.

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