Politicians laid wreaths at the main memorial site for the wall at Bernauer Strassein downtown Berlin. A service commemorating the 56th anniversary was held earlier at the nearby Chapel of Reconciliation.
Among those attending the services was the German commissioner of cultural affairs, Monika Grütters. Grütters referred to the Berlin Wall as the “most recognized symbol of the ruthlessness of the SED regime,” referring to the communist party of East Germany, the Socialist Unity Party. The minister also stressed that the wall separated not only the city but entire families, friends and neighborhoods.
Grütters added that it was important to commemorate such historic events. “This is an elementary part of our collective, national culture of remembrance,” she said during the event. Because of this work, she added, “especially young people today get to understand the importance of freedom, democracy and rule of law without having to suffer the experience of dictatorship.”