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Merkel, visiting ex-Stasi jail, defends freedom and democracy

From Reuters - August 11, 2017

BERLIN (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel invoked the injustices of communist East Germany on Friday 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 Sept. 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.

"The injustice that occurred in the GDR, that many people had to experience in an awful way, must not be forgotten," said Merkel, who has just returned to work after a three-week summer holiday.

She said the visit to the former Stasi prison, two days before the anniversary of the start of construction of theBerlin Wall in 1961, was "of particular significance for me".

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