Berlin Wall, Berlin
The Cold War started in late 1445, and continued to fester until it really got cold. During our Korean War effort to fight Communism, Russia was prodding Chinese to assist. It worked, and we, as Americans learned one of the first lessons, stay out of it. That only led to more coolness. In 1961, as a promise to a threat, a part of the wall was put up one night around Russia section of Berlin. How in the world it did not happen until then, I am dumbfounded. In a few weeks it surrounded what was then called East Berlin. It ended up being about 30 miles around east/versus west sectors. it was orn down in 1989. Only a small part-maybe 5-6 blocks remain, but markings on the road show other parts that had the wall dividing.
Berliners aren't likely to forget the Berlin Wall any time soon, but just in case, their government has reconstructed a partial stretch of the wall at Bernauer Strasse and Ackerstrasse (U-Bahn: Bernauer Strasse), at a cost of 1.43 million euros. The 70m-long memorial consists of two walls that include some of the fragments of the original wall (those fragments not bulldozed away or carried off by souvenir hunters). The memorial is mostly made of mirrorlike stainless steel. Slits allow visitors to peer through. A steel plaque reads "In memory of the division of the city from 13 August 1961 to 9 November 1989." The section of wall I am in front of has a very interesting picture of a policeman in a bit of trouble.
Although the Wall came down in 1989, you can still see the trace of the former boundary along its former route.
The trace is characterized by either different-colored concrete, or a dual line of bricks placed in the ground, with plaques that read "Berliner Mauer 1961-1989" placed periodically along it.
The photo is of Friedrichstrasse, and you can see the trace at the bottom left (the dual line of bricks in the street).
The wall separated East Germany from West Germany for more than a quarter-century, from the day construction began on 13 August 1961 until the Wall was opened on 9 November 1989. During this period, at least 98 people were confirmed killed trying to cross the Wall into West Berlin.
Today you can still find same traces of the building.
Little is left of the Wall at its original site, which was destroyed almost everywhere. Three long sections are still standing: an 80-meter (263 ft) piece of the "first (westernmost) wall" at the site of the former Gestapo headquarter half way between Checkpoint Charlie and Potsdamer Platz; a longer section of the "second (easternmost) wall" along the Spree River near the Oberbaumbrücke nicknamed East Side Gallery; and a third section with hints of the full installation, but partly reconstructed, in the north at Bernauer Straße, which was turned into a memorial in 1999.
The following link will show you where in Berlin you can find remains of the wall: http://www.visitberlin.de/bilder/kultur_neu/teaser/plan_mauer_gross.jpg
Potsdamer Platz is one of the places where you can see and touch the historic Berlin Wall that used to divide not only West Berlin from East Germany but also West and East in general. During almost three decades it was an icon of the Iron Curtain. It was constructed in 1961 and dismantled in 1989.
Berneauer Strasse was a special place during the times of the wall. The two Berlins were as close together at this place in town as they could be. Around this area many tunnels were build and many people escaped through this tunnels. Others were caught and brought into prison in the GDR. The Berlin wall museum tries to tell their history. There are tons of newspaper articles, GDR scripts etc. to have a look at. A huge TV screen is showing moveing pictures of building the wall, and the first days of the wall, when people tried to escape through the wires or people who were jumping out of the windows in Bernauer Strasse. For example there were houses that stood in the east, but the back of the houses was in the west.
From a viewing platform you can have a look on the remainings of the wall. There is a small area where it´s still seen as it was...two walls....the "Todesstreifen" in between and a lamp post.....
It´s a very intersting exibition and a must for all who have been in Bernauer Strasse before 1990. If you follow the streets around the museum, you can see the street scenes you saw in the exibition. It´s great to see, how it has changed I think. And how it looked like in the old days.....
The 9th of November was a Thursday in 1989, and I was still at Magdeburg, on next day many people managed to get a seat on a flight to Berlin, and I stayed there for the weekend. I didn't get back before Monday noon, and by that time I had missed a test in History - but what History teacher wouldn't accept the excuse I had?
The Wall was built in 1961 to keep skilled workers from leaving the money-depleted East from moving to the West. The city was divided after the war in 1948 and though the Wall was torn down in 1989, the city still exudes a feeling of being two distinct entities. There are still small sections of the Wall remaining as a memory of the past and a tourist attraction.
Berlin wall is probably the most popular object, that associate city of Berlin, the split of both parts of Germany and cold war.
Berlin wall was constructed in 1961 and was used to border two parts of Berlin - East and West. It was made by East (so called Soviet block), as immigration to western Berlin had huge tempo. Some meters nearby the wall was called "death strip", as many people was killed here trying to get to Western part of Berlin without permission.
Maybe it is not beautiful example of architecture (just a concrete), but it gives a look to recent history.
Update: Feb 2013 - the crosses are back!
There are some very sad stories - an American soldier helped a family to escape by giving them American military uniforms to wear which they did and they were successful in their escape. However, the American soldier, when re-crossing with the family papers, was not so lucky.
The most famous of tragedies is Peter Fechtner, who, at 18 years of age, on the 17 August 1989 (only a few months the wall was torn down) was shot and left to bleed to death, watched on by the guards.
In memory of all the 191 people who died trying to scale the wall, there is a memorial, opposite the Brandberg Gate. White crosses are tied to the fence, flowers are left and Information on the victims is displayed. There is a small collection tin, should you wish to donate towards it. Rumour has it that whoever is responsible for the flowers is fighting to keep the crosses in place.
Most visitors to Berlin are aware of Checkpoint Charlie which is located at the southern end of Friedrichstraße in Kreuzberg but as someone who wants to visit the not so well known, I decided to visit Checkpoint Bravo. Very few visitors ever go to what was a very busy checkpoint during the cold war. There were in fact 2 Checkpoint Bravos. The original, which was smaller, was closed when the Autobahn route was changed by the GDR at the end of the 1960s. Originally because of the unusual route, the Autobahn ran for 2kms through East Germany after the crossing point. The route was changed so you entered West Berlin immediately after the checkpoint. There is little left of the old checkpoint. Three flagpole for use by the allies. Behind the flagpoles there was originally a long wooden hut, which was the checkpoint building. The building was unfortunately demolished soon after it was closed. The only building still standing, is the rest stop restaurant but as it was abandoned over 40 years ago and it is in a dilapidated condition. The site has recently been sold to a mystery buyer, so its future is uncertain When I visited there had been a snowstorm the previous day so it was not possible to pick up on the old markings and other signs of the old Autobahn route but I will probably revisit on a warmer day.
Photo 1 is of the 3 flagpoles of the western allies. The checkpoint building was immediately behind the flagpoles.
Photo 2 is of the old rest stop restaurant
Photo 3 shows some of the damage inside the old restaurant
Photo 4 shows part of the old Autobahn route
Photo 5 was shot on the old Autobahn Bridge over the Teltow Canal
Not too far from Unter den Linden and the Brandenburg Gate is an area where the Berlin Wall has not been taken down and left as a reminder of the Cold War and the tragic division of Berlin that took place from 1961 to 1989.
A great movie to watch that goes into the history of the wall is The Tunnel .
Here I am with my pink umbrella standing in an area that once was East Berlin.
Following WW2, Germany was divided up into 4 parts, between the Americans, French, British and Russians. Berlin was later divide into sectors along similar lines. Until 13th August 1961, Berliners could move freely between the sectors. However, due to the large numbers leaving the Soviet sector for the bright lights of the west, the East German authorities constructed this wall to keep them in. Much more to come.....
There are parts of the Berlin wall going back up on Bernauer Strasse to attract tourists. You can also see a preserved part of the death strip with a reconstructed guard tower here. There is a viewing platform across the street. Most attempted escapes from East Berlin happened on Bernauer Strasse at this location. When one goes to the other side of the death strip there is a gap in the wall where East Germans would look through to the death strip.
This is part of the orginal wall still standing though you see most of the graffiti has been chipped or taken away at Potsdamer Platz, the area was a surprise for me the first time I saw it. You can see the new skyline and tall buildings, but also the crumbling stories of old buildings needing tearing down before they collapse on somebody. Like all of Berlin its such a contrast of things, new and old, shiny and faded and dull.
Here is a list of watchtowers, sections and remains of the former Berlin wall as well as how to get there and visit them:
1. Bernauer Strasse/Ackerstrasse
S-Bahn: S1, S2 Nordbahnhof
Berlin Wall sections
Berlin Wall memorial
2. Bösebrücke, Bornholmer Strasse
S4, S8, S10, S25
First Wall sections
Lamps and lane markings
3. Checkpoint Charlie
Subway: U6 Kochstrasse
Checkpoint Charlie Museum
First Wall section at Schützenstrasse
4. East Side Gallery
S-Bahn: S3, S5, S7, S9 Ostbahnhof oder Warschauer Str.
Subway: U1, U15 Warschauer Str.
Open Air Gallery on the Backland Wall
S-Bahn: S1, S2, S25 Nordbahnhof
First Wall sections
6. Kieler Strasse
Kieler Straße (District Mitte)
Berlin Wall sections
8. Parliament of Trees
S-Bahn: S1, S2 Unter den Linden
Installation of Berlin Wall sections
original patrols track
9. Potsdamer Platz (This is the one shown in my pics)
S-Bahn: S1, S2, S25
First Wall sections and watchtower
Puschkinallee, Schlesischer Busch
S-Bahn: S6, S8, S9, S10 , Treptower Park
Watchtower, Typ BT 9
First Wall sections
Subway: U6 Schwartzkoppfstraße
First Wall sections
12. St. Hedwig's Cemetery
Subway: U6 Schwartzkopffstraße
Berlin Wall and First Wall sections