Germans remember Berlin Wall

German leaders attend a ceremony in the country's capital to mark the 50th anniversary of the building of the Berlin Wall.

Berlin Wall 2011 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Berlin Wall 2011
(photo credit: REUTERS)
An emotional day in Germany as the country marks the 50th anniversary of the building of the Berlin Wall.
Hundreds gathered at one of the main memorials in the city for a ceremony to commemorate the event.
Susanne Mayr said, "I find it moving, how many people are here and I think it's good that I can be here."
Klaus Kampfenkel said, "It was the biggest thing in my life when the wall fell on November 9, 1989."
German chancellor Angela Merkel and president Christian Wulff were among those who attended the ceremony.

In a speech to the assembled crowd, Wulff said that nothing could subvert the desire for freedom.

Christian Wulff said, "The wall worked against its own people, for all to see. It was an expression of fear of its own people. The world situation, a symbol of which this wall was, seemed for many irreversible. But this was not the case. In the end, freedom is not unconquerable. No wall can survive the will for freedom in the long term. Violence of just a few has no hold over the drive for freedom of many."

The open air ceremony was followed by a memorial service in a nearby chapel and later a minute's silence.

Built in 1961, at least 136 people were killed and thousands imprisoned by East German guards as they tried to breach the wall.

Almost all of the 160km-long wall that circled West Berlin during the Cold War was torn down or chiselled away in euphoric scenes after it fell in 1989.

There were only a few remnants left by the time the two Germanys re-united less than a year later.