Berlin Wall, Berlin
Some guides tell you this museum is not as popular as some of the others like Checkpoint Charlie because it is not as central; do not be fooled. After being closed for a year the museum was reopened by the Chancellor Angela Merkel on 09 November 2014. The museum which is free to enter, documents the history of the wall with photographs and personal film stories. It is extremely moving as you watch the different stories of life with the wall and the desperate attempts of escape. One exhibit that made me wince was a piece of Stalin's grass. A metal frame with spikes that were covered over, to cause serious injury to potential escapers. There is a tower attached to the museum where you can look down on the wall and into old no mans land. You can walk by the wall and touch it. There are numerous information boards every few metres. Every item on display has an English translation. Books about the wall are available to purchase. There is a café attached to the museum.
Address: Bernauer Strasse 111, 13355 Berlin
Directions: Sign posted from the Nordbahnhof railway station.
Phone: ++49 (0) 30 / 464 10 30
As the daughter of a german native brought up outside of Germany, i have always been told the stories of the atrocities of my ancestors but when you see the sheer size of the berlin wall, even in fragments it really hammers home the feeling of desperation one must have had when one found oneself on one side of the wall, and the family on the other. Various fragments are all around the city, specifically around check point Charlie and at potsdammer platz there are some remnants.
In 1997 we arrived in Berlin without a place to stay. Frau Edeltraude Wurst found us. Her indomitable spirit was worth the whole trip to Germany. She had bought the house immediately after the fall of the Berlin wall (Schliemannstraße 44, 10437 Berlin), though she had already lived in it for years. The idea she could make her property make money after years of DDR Communist rule tickled her pink. Every day, she just goes to Zoo Station, picks a lost looking person or people, and brings them back to her lovely flat. Bathtub under the sink in the kitchen...a wonderful old ornate oil burning furnace....due to a lost flight, my gal spent a night in Frau Wurst's office! A lovely woman, an amazing story, and she kept an amazing book with epistles from everyone who stayed there. We had come from Canada. Others came from the other 3 corners of the world. I hope she is still there and doing well! If you meet Frau Edeltraud Wurst....follow her....follow her!!
After seeing the East side gallery wall with colorfull paintings and all, we also wanted to see how the wall was in places it was not painted. In this part it is even more easier to think how it has been. You can see how the wall goes past the houses by the street (couln´t be sure witch houses had been here allready before 1989) and you can peek from small holes in the wall and see the other wall some meters away, like it was back then.
there is also the watch tower, so the place looks really "real", and ttotally different than the colorfull East side gallery.
I think it was important to see this too. There was a "watch tower" for tourists also, where you can climb quite up and high to see the wall from the air. But we prefered to see it like most people had seen it back then.
It is good that locals have kept these places, and not distroied all. Of course it is terrible, but maybe just because of that. When you see how it has been, maybe it will change your thinking in some things.
Address: Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer Bernauer Straße 119
Directions: It is not so far from Mauer park, so if you are going to Mauer park flea market like we did, you could make this at same trip.
I think going to Berlin and not seeing Berlin wall is allmost like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel tower.
It´s a good thing they have saved quite a long part of wall. It helps you understand how it all has been back then. And not so long ago either!
Actually there is parts of wall in many places. I think it was good to see many of them, see the difference. The wall you see in East side gallery is colorfull and full of paintings. Like most of people outside Berlin remeber it.
There is also the wall at Bernauer strasse with watch tower. It is maybe even more touching place. I will make another tip about it.
We did walk here from Alexanderplatz, since we love to walk and we had a lot of time to use. There is also s-bahn and u-bahn stops quite near. The most famous part of the wall paintings is near Oberbaumbrucke bridge, but it goes close to Ostbahnhof.
There is also a small shop selling things about the wall, but you can find those cheaper at downtown.
The Berlin Wall Memorial stretches for nearly a mile and if you come here by metro there are two stations that can be used - either the Bernauerstrasse U Bahn or the Nordbahnhof S Bahn. I arrived at the Nordbahnhof which was not only convenient for the nearby Visitor Centre but also included an exhibition about Ghost Stations.
The city wasn’t only divided above ground it was also divided below ground and Nordbahnhof was one of these stations that was manned by armed guards to prevent trains from West Berlin stopping and East German people from escaping.
The station’s exhibition is part of the Berlin Wall Memorial and an interesting introduction to the rest of the site.
Across the road is the rusty looking Visitor Centre which should be the place to start your tour. Apart from providing information there is also a film about the wall on the upper floor. One word of warning! If you start browsing around the Bookshop your time will disappear rapidly. If you intend leaving by the Nordbahnhof after your tour I suggest that perhaps you just take a look at the film and pick up some info from the desk and return to the bookshop on the way back. Only my opinion of course.
From the Visitor Centre walk over to the Memorial site. The whole area is presently divided into 4 sections and how much of it you want to cover is going to be a personal choice. It’s an ongoing project and I reckon the most important bit to see is Section A which is where you will be now.
The history of the Berlin Wall is well documented, and although there are remnants of the wall elsewhere in the city, it’s only fitting that the Memorial is sited on Bernauerstrasse.
The street literally became a frontier when the fronts of the houses became the Eastern borderline and the pavements outside were in the West. Consequently it became a place of escape attempts, many of whom jumped from the windows onto the street below. The East German authorities responded by evicting all the street’s inhabitants and blocking up the windows.
Since the Wall has come down Bernauerstrasse has become a symbol of the division of the city.
Section A is sub-titled ‘The Wall and the Deathstrip’ and this is exactly what you see here just as it would have been back in the 1980s (or as near as).
In the centre of the strip is the ‘Window of Remembrance’ showing the pictures of some of the 136 people who lost their lives at The Wall. There are also plenty of information boards to explain everything so there’s no need for me to go into it here.
Exit by way of the gap in the wall at the top end and make your way up towards the Documentation Centre. Be prepared to meet plenty of school kids here but whatever you do don’t miss the opportunity to climb the steps up to the Viewing Platform for a bird’s eye view of the wall and Deathstrip below.
While you’re up here you can’t fail to notice the Watchtower which should be the next thing to take a look at across the inner wall.
Section A finishes at Ackerstrasse and if you want to visit the Chapel of Reconciliation cross over the street into Section B.
This was as far as I got but I intend to try and come back to see the rest of the Memorial at some point in the future.
Including a visit back at the Visitor Centre bookshop I’d spent half a day here which will give you an idea on how long a full visit could take - but I would suggest if you want to get a good idea of what life at the wall was like then you should definitely come here.
Directions: Mitte - NW of Alexanderplatz
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.
Directions: Center of Berlin.
It's really worth to see. It's a special piece of history and very impressive art work
Most of the Wall was torn down, but you can still follow the course in several places at the place where the Wall stood
The founders of the center of the Berlin Wall find that we must never forget this important part of German history you'll find stone remains of the wall, but also a few rolls of barbed wire and guards, the complete generation and destruction of the wall here imaged in the form of photographs
On the Mühlenstrasse find the East Side Gallery 1200 meter wall that is beautifully painted by artists from around the world on the Bernauer Strasse is also a piece of the wall
Address: Bernauer Strasse 111
Whilst on my travels following path of the Berlin Wall I came upon the park at Nordbahnhof. The park runs parallel with Gartenstrasse which is an old arterial road with some notable buildings. There is also an entrance on Bernauer Strasse close to the Nordbahnhof Station. The area was part of the border fortifications for the Berlin Wall and the border is marked on some of the footpaths. The park is unusual in as much that it is a raised long narrow strip of land and it is popular with walker, joggers, cyclists and those who just want to soak up the rays. This was originally part of the Nordbahnhof station and the train route went to Szczecin and Pomerania, and the current train tracks run close by. There are a number of entrances into the park, which was completed in 2009 at a cost of over 1million euros.
Address: Gartenstrasse & Bernauer Strasse
Directions: One end is close to Nordbahnhof Station.
If part of your trip to Berlin is to find out more about the Berlin Wall then you must visit the Berlin Wall Memorial in Bernauer Strasse. There are a number of sites within walking distance of each other some of which are outside, others are indoors but everything is free to enter but please check opening their opening hours. The starting place for any visit is the Visitor's Centre which is opposite the Nordbahnhof S Bahn Station and conveniently at one end of any tour. Upstairs in the Visitor's Centre is a cinema which shows 2 different films about the construction and history of the wall. Downstairs there are staff available to provide information, leaflets, there are information terminals, toilets and there is also a book shop with specialist books about the Berlin Wall.
Address: Bernauer Straße 119, 13355 Berlin
Directions: Across the road from the Nordbahnhof S Bahn Station
Phone: +49 (0)30 467 98 66-66
I'm not at all fascinated with the "Berlin Wall", this creation could imagine and construct only one's sick mind. The mere fact that one nation was violently divided into two separate states was insane and monstrous act. Any guilt for war crimes can and must be individualized, whole people can not and should not be stigmatized because of the misdeeds that were done by individuals.
Wheter a comitted crime can be punished by doing new crimes?
Walls are the most ridiculous creation of the human race, because they serve only for hidding something. I am always intrigued by the question, why those who govern must be hidden behind thick walls?
To get a true sense of what the Berlin wall was all about, this is, in my opinion, probably the best place to come because not only is it the longest stretch of surviving wall but both sections of wall are there with the death strip in between.... it really give it some perspective, probably better than anywhere else.
Here there is a window of remembrance to all those who lost their lives at the wall.
There is also a documentation centre here.
Address: immediately opposite Nordbahnof station
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.
Directions: bus 100
As Checkpoint Bravo was a border crossing point and this was the time of the cold war with tension on both sides, the East Germans also had to have a similar crossing point which was heavily guarded. Unfortunately most of what was there was demolished on 1993 and has been changed into a business park. But there is a command post which has been turned into a museum with information about the inner border. The museum has limited opening hours between 1100 - 1600 hours on Sundays between May to October. When the museum is closed the area outside is accessible and there are a number of metal information posts in German.
Address: Albert-Einstein-Ring/Stahnsdorfer Damm
Directions: You can catch a #620 bus from Wannsee Bahnhof
Phone: +49.33203.24 870
The second and last Checkpoint Bravo was on the realigned route of the A115, the crossing was also known as Grenzübergangsstelle Drewitz-Dreilinden. This was used by the western allies and it was the busiest crossing point because it was the shortest route between West Berlin and West Germany. The checkpoint was built between 1968 and 1972 and was a more robust construction than the original Checkpoint Bravo. The original buildings are still there but if you drive past on the Autobahn the whole area has an appearance of an abandoned service station, though commercial drivers of lorries and vans seem to use the large parking area as a rest stop. The buildings were designed by Rainer Rümmler and Hans Joachim Schröder and they have a very modern appearance. There are various plans afoot to change the buildings into a hotel with diner and a club. So it is better to visit sooner rather than later before it all changes.
There are different ways to get to the site. The easiest is to catch a #118 bus from Wannsee Bahnhof to Isoldestrasse. I believe you can also catch the #620 bus. Having got off the bus turn right off Potsdamer Chaussee on to Isoldestrasse. This is a quiet road and you can walk along a footpath for the last part of the journey. Do not get confused and walk further along Potsdamer Chaussee and then use the live slip road which joins the Autobahn. I walked from the Checkpoint Bravo Museum through the woods and there is a set of steps at the back of the site.
Address: Potsdamer Chaussee 62, Berlin14109