BERLIN — Angela Merkel says Germans need to understand their own history better to lay the right foundations for the country’s future.

The German chancellor said Saturday that understanding the history surrounding Germany’s reunification in 1990 and the dark period of National Socialism is essential.

She criticized far-right protesters who chant the East German dissident slogan — “We are the people” — but said it was also important to reach out to those who feel left behind.

The phrase is frequently heard at anti-migrant protests nowadays.

German authorities are on high alert ahead of celebrations Monday in the eastern city of Dresden marking the 26th anniversary of reunification.

The city is home to the anti-Islam group PEGIDA and was shaken by two explosive attacks — one targeting a mosque — last week.