The anniversary of the construction of the Berlin Wall was marked for the first time on Monday with flags flying at half mast on the Reichstag parliament building 40 year after the infamous structure was built.
The first wreaths were laid on Monday morning by Angela Merkel, leader of the opposition C-D-U party, in advance of ceremonies later in the day including one by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
Merkel and her colleagues then observed a minute's silence.
Some sources estimate that nearly 1,000 people died trying to flee to the west, including 250 of those at the wall itself.
German rulers closed the border between East and West Berlin on August 13, 1961, to stop the flood of people leaving the communist country.
To try and preserve the wall's history, the Berlin city government said on Sunday it would pass a resolution this week declaring the few remaining sections of the former barrier as protected memorials.