"The Berlin Wall was a structure of unfreedom, injustice and dictatorship," Giffey announced on Friday. "For more than 28 years, it divided Berlin in two, cut families and friendships in half, and deeply affected the fate of our city."
Giffey on the anniversary of the building of the Wall: Remembering the victims
Berlin's Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey commemorated the construction of the Berlin Wall 61 years ago and the victims of the GDR border regime.
Giffey reminds of historical responsibility
The people killed at the inner-German border must not be forgotten. There is a historical responsibility to keep alive what happened and to remember the suffering, said Giffey, who also mentioned the Russian war in Ukraine. "This is more important than ever now, when people in Europe are once again fighting for freedom at the risk of their lives."
Numerous victims at the inner-German border
On 13 August 1961, the GDR began building the Wall around the western part of Berlin. The 155-kilometre bulwark divided the city into two halves for more than 28 years. The division only ended with the fall of the Wall on 9 November 1989. According to researchers, at least 140 people died in Berlin alone at the hands of the GDR border troops after the Wall was built. According to the Federal Government, at least 260 people died at the inner-German border.
Several commemorative events on Saturday
On the 61st anniversary on Saturday, several events in Berlin will commemorate the building of the Wall. The central commemoration will focus on the death of 18-year-old Peter Fechter, who was shot and bled to death by GDR border guards 60 years ago, on 17 August 1962, while climbing over the Wall near Checkpoint Charlie.
Commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the death of Peter Fechter
In the morning, Giffey will take part in a prayer service in front of the Chapel of Reconciliation on the former death strip in Bernauer Strasse, followed by a wreath-laying ceremony and a moment of silence at the memorial for the victims of the Wall on the corner of Bernauer Strasse and Ackerstrasse. To mark the 60th anniversary of Peter Fechter's death, Giffey will lay a wreath at the memorial stele in Zimmerstraße at noon.