The Berlin Wall Memorial (Die Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer )

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Bernauer Strasse 1989

For twenty eight years the city of Berlin was a living memorial to the ideals that formed the Iron Curtain. East Berlin, and East Germany bore witness to the idealism of Socialism. West Berlin, and West Germany stood for a more capitalistic style of a Democratic Parliamentary government. West Berlin became an island in the midst of the socialist East German state. It had been separated from the rest of Germany by a barrier, The Berlin Wall. Passage in and out of West Berlin was highly restricted by the East German government. Only on rare occasions was The Wall illegally penetrated by people from the East who sought the opportunities of the West. Some who tried to escape to the West paid with their lives.

Wall Border Markers at the Base and Entrance to the Nordbahnhof S-Bahn Steps

The Berlin Wall Memorial can be reached from S-Bahn Berlin Nordbahnhof. Four S-Bahn lines pass through this station: S1; S2; S25; or S26. This S-Bahn station (along with others) was once considered a Ghost Station. It was located at the border of the Berlin Wall. East Germany had sealed it off to prevent escape attempts during the early days of the building of The Berlin Wall.

History of the Ghost and Border Stations in Nordbahnhof

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 the original structures that comprised the cement ribbon that once surrounded the city has been reduced to scattered monuments that dot the cityscape at Potsdamer Platz, Europa Center, and many other locations. The only place to view the actual in tact remnants of the wall complete with a restored “Death Strip”, or “No Mans Land” is on Bernauer Strasse. The 1.4 kilometer stretch welcomes you to walk between the inner and outer walls of the former “Death Strip”. Markers along the path allow the individual to experience the history of The Wall at their own pace. Two metal barriers preserve a rectangular swath of “No Mans Land” between the inner and outer barriers of The Wall. This preserved area can be seen from the tall observation deck atop the Berlin Wall Museum.

The Berlin Wall Museum is situated on the opposite side of Bernauer Strasse from The Wall. The Museum offers two floors of historical exhibits regarding The Berlin Wall. It allows the visitor the opportunity to learn what led up to the building of the wall, the phases of the Berlin wall, and the fall of the wall. As mentioned before, a viewing platform at the museum offers a unique perspective of the preserved segment of The Wall including the “Death Strip”.

The Inner Wall

The Walk along Bernauer Strasse, a visit to the museum, and a thorough investigation of the area are all recommended for the first time visitor, as well as former and current residents of Berlin. Having lived in Berlin in the early eighties, I was pleased to see this preserved segment of history. Walls can be abused by authorities to drive an ideological wedge between people of common backgrounds. I hope this memorial continues to serve as a reminder that such walls cannot be tolerated nor can they stand the test of time.

 

Markers to Two Individuals Who Were Killed During Attempted Escapes From the East at Ackerstrasse and Bernauer Strasse

 

 

To learn more about the Berlin Wall Memorial please visit this site: https://berliner-mauer-gedenkstaette.de/en/

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