Angela Merkel leads ceremony marking 30th anniversary the fall of the Berlin Wall

Tim O'Donnell

Leaders from Germany, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic attended a Saturday ceremony in Berlin honoring the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which is viewed as one of the pivotal moments in the final stages of the Cold War. The leaders placed roses along the remnants of the barrier that once divided the city between the communist east and capitalist west.

"The Berlin Wall, ladies and gentleman, is history," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said. "It teaches us: No wall that keeps people out and restricts freedom is so high or so wide that it can't be broken down."

President Trump congratulated Germany on the anniversary, saluting the "courageous men and women from both East and West Germany" who united to "tear down a wall that stood as a symbol of oppression."

But Nov. 9 is not a gleaming day in German history, despite the fall of the wall. It is also the anniversary of Kristallnacht, or the Night of the Broken Glass, in which Nazi paramilitaries carried out a pogrom against Jewish citizens in 1938. And in 1923, Adolf Hitler led the "Beer Hall Putsch," a failed coup attempt against the Weimar Republic. Those anniversaries, coupled with the rise of far right parties in the country, have some German citizens feeling reflective, rather than celebratory this year, The Guardian reports. Read more at The Associated Press and The Guardian.

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