BERLIN (AP) -- It was 47 years ago today that East Germany began building the Berlin Wall.
Marking the occasion today, a German parliament leader called the wall a "monstrous mistake." He said the barrier's ultimate collapse proves that efforts to isolate people -- and oppress freedoms -- are doomed to failure.
East Germany's communist government began sealing off the border with the capitalist enclave of West Berlin on August 13th, 1961. The wall was aimed at keeping people from escaping to the West.
The wall stood for 28 years. It was first breached -- to great jubilation -- in November 1989. Months later, East Germany collapsed.
Berlin's mayor and other officials laid wreaths today at one of the few sections of the wall left standing. Researchers for the Berlin Wall Memorial say more than 100 people died at the wall.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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