Trump congratulates Germans 30 years after fall of Berlin Wall

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a lighting of candles ceremony at the memorial of the divided city in Berlin.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a lighting of candles ceremony at the memorial of the divided city in Berlin.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (DPA) - US President Donald Trump became the first leader to issue statements of commemoration on Saturday (Nov 9), the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Trump congratulated Germans on the "tremendous strides that have been made in reuniting their country and in rebuilding the former East Germany."

"The eyes of the world watched as a generation of East Germans reclaimed their God-given liberties with each successive swing of their hammers," Trump said.

He added that for decades East German propaganda "touted the existence of a thriving workers' paradise on their side of the wall. Yet the dilapidated apartments and depleted grocery stores told a different story."

The message noted that ordinary people in East Germany risked their lives for freedom, "and in doing so they were the catalyst that lifted the Iron Curtain that had, a generation before, fallen across Europe."

Trump also sent a warning to tyrannical regimes around the world that continue to employ the oppressive tactics of Soviet-style totalitarianism.

"Let the fate of the Berlin Wall be a lesson to oppressive regimes and rulers everywhere: No Iron Curtain can ever contain the iron will of a people resolved to be free," he said.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov addressed the fall of the Soviet Union more broadly, saying that, "Communism left such a gap in Europe that 30 years after the historic fall of the Berlin Wall, the eastern countries are still catching up with western Europeans."

"We still wear the scars, we still have a lot of work to do... I am convinced that we must stand for democracy and the right to free choice. We must not allow totalitarian regimes to separate us!" he wrote on Facebook.