The Berlin Wall Memorial
Border control in Bernauer Straße
What was once the border strip is now a place of remembrance. The Berlin Wall memorial gives you a moving insight into the division of Berlin.
A GDR soldier jumping over the fence at the last moment. People jumping out of windows into sheets held out by West Berlin firemen – images of Bernauer Straße in August 1961 were seen all over the world. Today this historic location is the site of the Berlin Wall Memorial where the partition of Berlin is remembered.
Memorial and documentation centre
The large open air exhibition on the former border strip covers four areas with historical audio materials and pictures, a visitors’ centre and an observation tower. There is a 70-metre stretch on the Berlin Wall with border strip and watchtower directly on Bernauer Straße. The installation shows how the border was set up at the end of the 80s and gives visitors the lasting impression of the construction that once divided a country.
The exhibition in the documentation centre is on the other side of Bernauer Straße and shows the history of the construction of the wall in 1961. You can take a look at the remaining parts of the border crossing from a five-storey observation tower.
There is also a Chapel of Reconciliation on the site. The former Church of Reconciliation was demolished in 1985 as it was directly on the border strip. Visitors to services in the new chapel regularly remember the victims of the Wall. The Window of Memorial on the site portrays the 130 people who were shot or died on the Berlin Wall.
A look back: Bernauer Straße as the scene where history was made
Bernauer Straße, on the boundary between the districts of Wedding and Mitte, became a historical site with the erection of the Wall. The Berlin Wall was erected here in August 1961 directly in front of the East Berlin houses. Some residents decided to take flight at the last minute and used ropes to climb out their windows. Others were forced to move out and the windows of their flats were bricked over. The picture of the GDR soldier Conrad Schumann, who jumped over the barbed wire two days after the division of Berlin, is still famous today. Over the years the East Berliners constructed numerous escape tunnels around Bernauer Straße. When the partition of the city was finally over the first segments were broken off the Berlin Wall in the night from the 10th to the 11th of November 1989 in Bernauer Straße.
Information for schools
The Berlin Wall memorial offers tours and seminars for schools as well as three- to four-hour bicycle tours along the former border strip from April to September. Pupils over the age of 16 can take part in moderated discussions with witnesses.
The Documentation Centre and the Visitor Centre are open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 - 18:00.
The outdoor exhibition in the memorial area on Bernauer Strasse is open without restriction (Monday to Sunday, 08:00 - 22:00).