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Sun 14 Aug 2011 01:09 PM

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Germany marks 50th anniversary of Berlin Wall construction

Chancellor Angela Merkel pays tribute to the 136 people killed trying to get over the Wall to West Berlin

Germany marks 50th anniversary of Berlin Wall construction
A man holding a German flag attends a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the construction of the Berlin Wall at the Bernauer Strasse memorial on August 13, 2011 in Berlin, Germany (Getty Images)
Germany marks 50th anniversary of Berlin Wall construction
Visitors look at wreaths left at a still-standing portion of the former Berlin Wall during a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the construction of the Berlin Wall (Getty Images)
Germany marks 50th anniversary of Berlin Wall construction
(From L to R) German State Cultural Minister Bernd Neumann, former President Richard von Weizsaecker, Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit, Chancellor Angela Merkel, First Lady Bettina Wulff and German President Christian Wulff attend a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the construction of the Berlin Wall (Getty Images)
Germany marks 50th anniversary of Berlin Wall construction
The Berlin Wall, equipped with watch towers, armed guards and trip-wire triggered machine guns, was originally built in 1961 by the communist authorities of East Germany in order to stop East Germans from fleeing into West Berlin (Getty Images)
Germany marks 50th anniversary of Berlin Wall construction
Dignitaries, including (from L to R, starting at 4th from R) German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Bundestag President Norbert Lammert, President Christian Wulff and Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit, adjust wreaths during a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the construction of the Berlin Wall (Getty Images)
Germany marks 50th anniversary of Berlin Wall construction
At least 136 people died trying to do so until the Wall came down in 1989 (Getty Images)
Germany marks 50th anniversary of Berlin Wall construction
Berlin's mayor said on Saturday he was appalled that some Germans were nostalgic for the Berlin Wall and supported a newly fashionable leftist view that there were legitimate reasons for building it in 1961 (AFP/Getty Images)
Germany marks 50th anniversary of Berlin Wall construction
Mayor Klaus Wowereit said the Wall, toppled in 1989, should serve as a reminder of freedom and democracy around the world (AFP/Getty Images)
Germany marks 50th anniversary of Berlin Wall construction
German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets well-wishers as she arrives for a commemorative ceremony of the construction of the Berlin Wall. Most of the 160-km (100-mile) Wall encircling West Berlin in the heart of Communist East Germany was quickly torn down or chiseled away in the euphoria of 1989 (AFP/Getty Images)
Germany marks 50th anniversary of Berlin Wall construction
Now, as growing numbers of tourists come to Berlin each year searching largely in vain for traces of the Wall, the city has re-erected and restored parts (AFP/Getty Images)