Germany on November 7 is launching three days of celebrations to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, is leading commemorations for those who were killed trying to flee the repressive state.
Merkel, now aged 60, said in a recent podcast that she will “never forget” the day because she “had to wait 35 years for that feeling of liberty.”
Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader whose "perestroika" and "glasnost" reforms helped pave the way for the changes, will greet crowds at Berlin’s former Checkpoint Charlie border crossing.
Celebrations will conclude with a giant festival in Berlin on November 9 marking exactly 25 years since Germany's Cold War divisions were breached on November 9, 1989.
Rock stars and veteran freedom activists will join a crowd expected to number in the millions.
Based on reporting by AFP, dpa, AP, and Reuters