- Title: Merkel, visiting ex-Stasi jail, defends freedom and democracy
- Date: 11th August 2017
- Summary: BERLIN, GERMANY (AUGUST 11, 2017) (REUTERS) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** MEMORIAL TO VICTIMS OF COMMUNIST REGIME 1945-1989 VARIOUS OF MERKEL ARRANGING WREATH RIBBONS, PAYING RESPECTS WITH FORMER POLITICAL PRISONER ARNO DREFKE MEMORIAL VARIOUS OF MERKEL TOURING MUSEUM WITH KNABE FORMER PRISON / MERKEL SPEAKING TO REPORTERS (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR, ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING: "The culture minister Monika Gruetters and I believe the federal government as well as the state of Berlin have been and will continue to act to make sure this place of remembrance remains open, and to make clear that we can only shape a good future if we engage with the past. The injustice that occurred in the GDR, that many people had to experience in an awful way, must not be forgotten if we are to appreciate the freedom and democracy we have today." VARIOUS OF MERKEL SPEAKING (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR, ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING: "And visiting this memorial is of particular significance for me now, just a few days before August 13th, the day the Berlin wall was built in 1961. It seems like a long time ago but it is a powerful warning to us today to work hard for freedom and democracy." MEDIA VARIOUS OF MERKEL LEAVING AS PEOPLE WISH HER WELL FOR THE UPCOMING FEDERAL ELECTION
- Embargoed: 25th August 2017 13:33
- Keywords: German Chancellor Angela Merkel former Stasi prison Hohenschoenhausen renovation
- Location: BERLIN, GERMANY
- City: BERLIN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0036TPPETJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Chancellor Angela Merkel invoked the injustices of communist East Germany on Friday (August 11) to defend freedom and democracy during a visit to a notorious prison of the former Stasi secret police in Berlin.
Merkel, the daughter of a Protestant pastor who grew up in the German Democratic Republic (GDR), visited the ex-prison of Hohenschoenhausen a day before she launches her campaign for a fourth term as chancellor in a national election on September 24.
Thousands of political prisoners were incarcerated in the jail, which after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the 1990 reunification of Germany became a museum and memorial.
During her visit, Merkel met a former inmate, Arno Drefke, who often guides visitors through the spacious former prison, which is now preparing for a two-year renovation that will add new exhibition areas and seminar rooms.
Merkel and her conservatives, in power since 2005, are expected to win another term, although an opinion poll by Infratest dimap published late on Thursday suggested her popularity had dropped 10 percentage points to 59 percent.
However, Merkel appears to have little to fear as her main rival, the Social Democrats' chancellor candidate Martin Schulz, saw his popularity hit a new low of 33 percent, down four points from last month.
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