Overview: The Berlin Wall split the city from Aug. 13, 1961, to Nov. 9, 1989. West Berlin became a walled-in island surrounded by the German... more »
Overview: The Berlin Wall split the city from Aug. 13, 1961, to Nov. 9, 1989. West Berlin became a walled-in island surrounded by the German... more » Democratic Republic (GDR). Berlin was the hot spot of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union and a spot of personal tragedy. Families were spilt and more than 100 people died attempting to flee. less «
Tips: To get to this section of the wall, the nearest subway stations are S Nordbahnhof (S1, S2, S25) and U Bernauer Str (U8). You also can ... more »use the tram (12, M8, M10). less «
The Berlin Wall Memorial consists of the Chapel of Reconciliation, the Documentation Center, the outdoor exhibition, the exhibition at the S-Bahn Station Nordbahnhof and the Visitors' Center.
The Berlin Wall Memorial was built "in memory of the city's division from 13 August 1961 to 9 November 1989 and of the victims of communist tyranny.... More"
Here you will find 60 meters of the former border strip with all its details: the outer and inner walls and the "No Man's Land" in between with floodlights and an observation tower. Both sides of the memorial are covered by plates of steel.
The best view point is the tower, which is part of the Documentation Center.
You will find a lot of information along the memorial. Take your time; you will want to allow 30-60 minutes here; it is well worth it.Less
A consequence of the division created by the wall was that underground transit lines were cut into many pieces. Consequently, the Nordbahnhof subway station was a "ghost station" for 28 years since it was located in the border strip.
Interestingly, during the almost three decades that the wall was in place, the line continued its... More service but stopped just in those stations with stops in West Berlin.
Inside the pavilion/entrance you will find some historical photos and information.
One of the border crossings was located here on the Sandkrugbrücke, where people once tried to escape.
Just 11 days after the wall went up, Günter Litfin became the first victim of the wall. The border troops shot him while he tried to flee by swimming through the Humboldthafen next to bridge. Find the memorial stone for him in this... More location,
Two years later 12 young men and women tried to break through the border crossing in a van. The border guards stopped the car with dozens of shots. Everyone in the car was arrested and many of them were wounded.Less
A double wall of cobblestones mark where the wall once stood. On certain spots you will find information boards and pillars with audio sequences.
A few people tried to cross the border by swimming through the river Spree or the canals. Here you will find a memorial for those who were killed in their attempts. Seven crosses are inscribed with the names of victims and their dates of death. The one missing cross stands as memorial for all of the unknown victims of the wall.
The Brandenburg Gate serves as the representative entrance to the historical part of Berlin. The gate was constructed out of sandstone between 1788 and 1791 and designed by architect Carl Gotthard Langhans. The gate was then crowned in 1794 by the sculpture quadriga and the goddess of victory, which were created by Johann Gottfried Shadow.
When ... Morethe German Democratic Republic set up the wall in 1961, the Brandenburg Gate was just a few meters behind it. For 28 years the gate was in plain view from both sides of the wall but not reachable from the No Man's Land in the east. It was in 1987 that U.S. President Ronald Reagan--while giving a speech in front of the gate--implored USSR General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to remove the barrier. "Mr. Gorbachev," he said, "open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"Less
The first Soviet war memorial in Berlin was erected in November 1945. It is located precisely at the point where Albert Speer (the main architect of the Third Reich) planned the cross of two axes. The east-west axe you see here starts at the Brandenburg Gate and continues the other way behind the victory column. It is around 6.5 miles (10... More kilometers) long. Due to the start of WWII, the north-south axe was never built.
The memorial shows an oversized soldier of the Red Army standing on a colonnade. The granite used is taken from the New Chancellery of A. Hitler. In front of the colonnade are two T34 Soviet tanks; the park behind them is the burial ground for roughly 2,200 Soviet soldiers who lost their lives during the Battle of Berlin.
When Berlin was split into east and west, the memorial was placed on the west side, preventing people from the east from visiting it.Less
Lenne Dreieck is a neighborhood located between the Tiergarten Park and Potsdamer Platz. On July 1, 1988, one of the most curious and irrational things took place at the border here: 200 people attempted to climb over the Berlin Wall--but in the opposite direction, from the west to the east!
To understand why requires a brief look into history.... More When the wall was built in 1961, this area was designated for the east. In 1988, West Berlin and the GDR made a contract for an exchange of several areas, including this one. The contract was signed on March 31, 1988, and was to go into effect on July 1 of that year. At the end of May, several groups from eco movements and left wing political affiliations began squatting in the area to oppose planned road construction in the neighborhood. They claimed the Lenné Dreieck (the Lenne-Dreieck triangle was framed by the streets Lennestr., Ebertsstr. and Bellevuestr.) was a legal black hole, exempt from the agreement, and attempted to block the surrender of the area.
The German Democratic Republic did not interfere. However, West Berlin did not like the situation and wanted to clean up the area, but couldn't until the contract went into effect. West Berlin police isolated the protestors and in the early morning of July 1, they came with full force. The protestors tried to escape by climbing over the wall to the east. This action proved to be a unique and wonderful piece of propaganda for the GDR, as they could report that people from the west escaped from the aggressive police in West Berlin.Less
With the establishment of the German Democratic Republic in 1949, a new political and economic system was set up. The start of the dictatorship resulted in a mass migration to the west. From 1949 to 1961 East Germany had lost a sixth of its population. To stop the migration the GDR decided to close the last loop hole of the border with the Berlin ... MoreWall.
The Berlin Wall enclosed West Berlin from Aug. 13, 1961, to Nov. 9, 1989. It was supposed to prevent citizens of East Germany from fleeing to West Germany.
The first version of the wall was set up in one day. It had a height of around 2 meters and the top was covered with barbwire. Over the years the GDR added a system of barriers in front, like a signal fence, a gap for cars, carpets of steel spikes, tank traps and another fence or a second wall. At regular intervals of approximately 250 meters observation towers stood for the border troops to monitor the border area. This area of barriers was known as a death strip.
The wall you see here is the latest version from the 1970s, which replaced earlier versions. The height was raised to 3.50 meters (12 feet). Graffiti was common on the west side of the wall; here you see it on both sides. Pieces of the wall are missing because wall hunters scooped up souvenirs in the 1990s.Less
Between 1945 and 1989, Checkpoint Charlie was the most well-known checkpoint in Berlin. It was one of three controlled by the United States. The name was derived from the alphabet since the three checkpoints were named A, B and C, and in military vernacular became known as checkpoints Alpha, Bravo and Charlie.
Checkpoint Charlie was used by... More foreigners, diplomats, the Allied Forces and their relatives. Germans from West Germany and West Berlin mainly used the checkpoint at the railway station Friedrichstraße.
It was at Checkpoint Charlie that the Cold War seemed most evident. Soviet and U.S. tanks faced off here in 1961. Checkpoint Charlie was one of the spots where many people attempted to escape from the east.
Today it is a sightseeing attraction with a replica of the checkpoint guard house. An information board proclaims, "You are leaving the American Sector" and actors dressed as soldiers will pose for photos.
In 1998 a sculpture by Frank Thiel was installed to mark the checkpoint. It is composed of two light boxes with portraits of soldiers. From the viewpoint of the east side you see a U.S. soldier, from the west a soldier of the Soviet Union.
Around the checkpoint you will see a series of information boards that offer a history of the checkpoint and the Cold War. The Museum of the Wall at Checkpoint Charlie documents attempts to escape and the objects escapees used.Less
Peter Fechter became one of the first victims of the Berlin Wall. While trying to escape he was shot by GDR border guards. It happened on Aug. 17, 1962, in the neighborhood of the Checkpoint Charlie.
With his friend Helmut Kulbeik, Fechter jumped out of a window and into No Man's Land. They ran across it and were climbing the wall when guards... More fired at them. Although Kulbeik succeeded in crossing the wall, Fechter was shot in plain view of hundreds of witnesses. He fell back into the death strip on the eastern side, where he remained in view of western onlookers, including journalists. Despite his screams, he received no medical assistance from the east or the west. He bled to death after about an hour.Less