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Germany marks 50 years since the Berlin Wall

Reuters/Thomas Peter

Germany marked 50 years since the first bricks were laid for the Berlin Wall on Saturday.

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German leaders will attend a memorial service at the Wall, while Church leaders and regional authorities held a minute silence at noon in memory of those that died trying to flee to the West.

German President Christian Wulff, Chancellor Angela Merkel, who grew up in the East, and Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit attended the nationally televised commemoration.

This was followed by a church service at a chapel built where the Wall stood for 28 years.

Flags flew at half mast on parliament while church and regional authorities called for a minute of silence at noon to remember at least 136 people who died in Berlin trying to cross the Wall.

Figures of those killed while attempting to flee from East to West Germany stand at between 600 and 700.

President Christian Wulff, who made a keynote address Saturday, described the anniversary as an occasion for Germans to reflect on how far they have come since the darkest days of the Cold War.

Sections of Wall still standing are now being restored and listed for historical preservation.

Concrete slabs along Bernauer Strasse, the site of dramatic escape attempts and now the site of the main Wall memorial, will be repaired by year’s end, according to memorial project director Guenter Schlusche.
 

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