Permanent exhibition in the Tränenpalast
From 1961 to 1989, Berlin was divided by a wall. A few border crossings between East and West Berlin allowed citizens to cross into the other part of the city. The permanent exhibition in the Tränenpalast tells the stories that took place at one of the border railway stations.
Friedrichstraße station in the heart of Berlin was an important border crossing point during the division of the city.
Emotional scenes played out daily in front of the windows of the departure hall: GDR citizens bid farewell to their relatives and friends who were returning to the West or leaving the GDR for good.
Many tears were shed at the Palace of Tears.
Today, the permanent exhibition presents the history of this special place of German division. It explains how the two German states came to be founded and how the Berlin Wall was built and how the controls and surveillance at Friedrichstrasse border station were organised. Visitors can follow the border clearance process and go through an original passport control.
However, the exhibition focuses on the personal stories of travellers who experienced the division themselves.
In interviews with contemporary witnesses, they talk about their escape, how they kept in touch with their families and friends in the GDR, how they smuggled objects and documents across the border and protested against the GDR's travel ban. Until the Wall came down in 1989 and the Tränenpalast became Friedrichstraße station again.
More than 30 years after reunification, visitors can go in search of clues here.