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English Section

Polish president marks fall of Berlin Wall in visit to Germany

09.11.2019 09:00
Polish President Andrzej Duda was on Saturday set to take part in ceremonies in Germany commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago, a historic moment that symbolised the crumbling of communism in Europe.
Andrzej Duda, pictured earlier his week
Andrzej Duda, pictured earlier his week Photo: PAP/Mateusz Marek

Alongside Duda, the presidents of Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia were to attend the commemorations. All four countries languished for decades behind the Iron Curtain.

The four leaders were to jointly lay a wreath in front of a monument in the German capital commemorating the role of their counties in overcoming communism.

Afterwards they were expected to head for talks at a working breakfast hosted by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The Berlin Wall was a physical marker of the ideological divide between the repressive communist regimes in the East and the democratic capitalist West.

It was built in 1961 to stop East Germans fleeing to the West. It fell on November 9, 1989.

Domino effect 

Five months before the wall collapsed, Poland had already held its first partially-free elections after World War II.

The Solidarity pro-democracy movement scored a resounding victory in the June 4, 1989 election, winning all the seats available to it in the lower house of Poland’s parliament and all but one seat in the freely contested Senate, the upper chamber.

The vote precipitated a domino effect across the region, culminating in the fall of the Berlin Wall in November that year.

While in Germany on Saturday, President Duda was also expected to visit the Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum near Berlin.

Sachsenhausen was the site of one of Nazi Germany’s first concentration camps. More than 200,000 people were interned there, including political prisoners.

Duda was expected to lay a wreath at a plaque in memory of university professors from the southern Polish city of Kraków who were taken to the Sachsenhausen camp after being arrested in November 1939.

Nazi Germany attacked Poland on 1 September 1939, leading to the outbreak of World War II.

(pk)

Source: PAP