The landmark verdict on Saturday coincided with the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago, a pivotal event in world history which signalled beginning of German reunification. "And they must always be lived out and defended anew", she told guests from across the continent.
He said that "on this day in 1989, courageous men and women from both East and West Germany united to tear down a wall that stood as a symbol of oppression and failed socialism for more than a quarter of a century".
On November 9, 1989, East German border guards, overwhelmed by large crowds, threw open the gates to West Berlin, allowing free passage for the first time since it was built.
Berlin's historic Brandenburg Gate has been the setting for an art installation featuring around 30,000 ribbons with people's wishes, hopes and memories, suspended in the air to make up a 150-metre long "freedom cloud.' Under its musical director Daniel Barenboim, the Staatskapelle Orchestra is to perform Beethoven's fifth symphony - also known as the 'Schicksals-Sinfonie, ' or 'destiny symphony" - at the Brandenburg Gate as part of a concert to be launched by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.More news: Sar Kheng: Rainsy return not blocked
"Without the courage and the will to freedom of the Poles and Hungarians, the Czechs and Slovaks, the peaceful revolutions in Eastern Europe and Germany's reunification would not have been possible", Steinmeier said.
Steinmeier pointed out, however, that the historic event did not mark the "end of history" as the USA historian Francis Fukuyama famously stated.
"The 9th of November, which reflects in a special way both the awful and the happy moments of our history, makes us aware that we have to face hatred, racism and anti-Semitism resolutely", Merkel said in a speech at the Chapel of Reconciliation, located where the Berlin Wall once stood.
The struggle of political systems continues and the future is more uncertain than ever before, he added.More news: Manchester United win 'template' for future performances - Solskjaer
Steinmeier's sharp words at the festivities underlined growing tensions between the traditional allies, after Germany was rattled by Trump's go-it-alone attitude on issues ranging from Iranian nuclear policy to trade with Europe to climate change.
"With our friends, we recall with profound gratitude the events 30 decades back", Steinmeier said during a ceremony in the Bernauer Strasse Berlin Wall Memorial, which was attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel and heads of state in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.
"It urges us to do everything in our power to defend freedom and democracy, human dignity and the rule of law".
Merkel commemorated those who were killed or imprisoned for trying to flee from East to West Germany and insisted that the fight for freedom worldwide isn't over. Representatives of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which were part of the Soviet Union, said the collapse of the wall brought hope to their nations, as well. By the same token, its demolition triggered a series of events that led to the reunion of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic.More news: State Department gave aid to Ukraine days before President Trump lifted freeze