Berlin commemorates 30th anniversary from fall like wall

Life in Communist East Germany was 'almost comfortable' at times Merkel says

Jens Stoltenberg and German Chancellor Angela Merkel address the media during a news conference in BerlinMore

Merkel also recalled that Nov 9 remains a fraught date in German history, as it also marks the anniversary of Kristallnacht - the Night of Broken Glass, an anti-Jewish pogrom in 1938 that foreshadowed the Nazi Holocaust.

About 200 events have been held over the last week in Berlin alone, including in the churches where members of the resistance to East Germany's communist rulers met and in buildings once part of the regime's feared security service, the Stasi.

There has been a rise in the far-right in many European countries, while the governments of EU countries such as Poland and Hungary have been accused of undermining the rule of law.

"That applies to us all in East and West: we stand stripped of any excuses and are required to do our part for freedom and democracy".

They will join Merkel and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to mark their countries' "contribution ... to the peaceful revolution" that led to the collapse of the communist regime.

The Berlin Wall went up nearly overnight in 1961, after more than 2.5 million East Germans had fled to the West for freedom and opportunity.

Steinmeier however noted the graver atmosphere at this juncture compared to other celebrations marking the key event in the German calendar five or 10 years back. That's why it does not bother me when others see things differently.' However, the breaching of the wall has over the years also triggered a wave of departures from the former east, with the region's economy struggling to catch up with the west and many of those who remained in the communist east claiming they feel left behind.

Two days before the date that brought epochal change, France's President Emmanuel Macron dropped a bombshell, declaring that transatlantic partnership North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was suffering from "brain death" and that Europe itself was "on the brink".

A citizens' group in Germany has sent a 2.7 ton piece of the actual Berlin Wall to the US President Donald Trump on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the wall.

Merkel responded with uncharacteristic sharpness, calling such "sweeping judgements" unnecessary.

From Washington, Trump sent a message of congratulations for the commemoration, adding that the USA "will continue working with Germany, one of our most treasured allies, to ensure that the flames of freedom burn as a beacon of hope and opportunity for the entire world to see". Thirty years ago today, literal hammers in the hands of ordinary Germans, yearning for freedom and to choose their own future, tore down the wall that stood as a symbol of that evil system.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit ended Friday while Macron is only planning a flying visit on Sunday, leaving the actual anniversary on November 9 without globally prominent figures.

"Today is also the opening of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor, in which both India and Pakistan have a partnership.' He said the Ayodhya verdict of November 9 tells us to 'live together and move forward".

The ugly concrete barrier was also used by two United States presidents as backdrops for speeches calling for freedom.

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