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Tunnel escapes under the Berlin Wall

Ever since the SED regime built the Berlin Wall in August 1961, there have been repeated attempts to cross the deadly barriers with the help of urban sewer systems or tunnels dug out of the Brandenburg sand, thus freeing them up.

Bernauer Straße
Bernauer Straße © visitBerlin, Foto: SSw

The first tunnel project "ran" in October 1961, the last failed in 1984. In total, there were more than 70 actually started escape tunnel projects, of which, however, only 19 were successful. After all, more than 300 GDR citizens came from East to West Berlin through them. There were spectacular actions, betrayal and bitter failure, because the Stasi could spy on the planned actions in advance. It developed a veritable »cat-and-mouse game« between tunnel builders and the GDR state security, under increasingly difficult conditions for the escape aids and refugees.

In the two-hour tour, we not only tell the story (s) of the escape tunnel. Even the Berlin ghost stations, their seemingly perfect protection against so-called border violators and the shutting the sewer against underground escape attempts are extensively mentioned in this tour.

After visiting the thematic exhibition rooms in the civil protection facility Blochplatz, you can take the "subway shuttle" to Bernauer Straße, one of the focal points of the construction of the Berlin Wall and one of the focal points of escape tunnel construction. Over a distance of only 350 meters, the border barriers were tunnelled seven times. The particularly low groundwater level made it possible to create very deep escape tunnels. Close to these authentic scenes of history, it goes into the underground renewed. In the historic vaults of the former Oswald-Berliner-Brauerei, we report on the basis of tunnel replicas on the original scale of both betrayed and failed tunnel projects as well as the two most successful and spectacular projects from the time of the Berlin Wall, the »Tunnel 29« and »Tunnel 57 ".

Ulrich Pfeifer will report on the various escape tunnel projects in which he was involved.

Ulrich Pfeifer was born in Berlin in 1935. In 1953 he graduated from high school in Gera and studied civil engineering at the Technical University of Dresden. In 1960 he came to East Berlin as a civil engineer. Four weeks after the wall was built, he fled through the sewer system on Gleimtunnel to West Berlin, where his mother and sister lived. His girlfriend's attempted escape through the same route was thwarted and sentenced her to seven years in December 1961. He then began to act as an escape helper. In August 1962 he was involved in the construction of a tunnel in the Kiefholzstraße, whose construction was betrayed, however, and on the construction of the tunnel 29 in Bernauer Strasse, by the 14/15. September 1962 29 people fled to West Berlin. Further actions in which Pfeifer was involved were from autumn 1962 to February 1963 the likewise betrayed tunnel from Bernauer Straße 78 to Brunnenstraße 45 and a tunnel at the junction Bernauer Straße / Brunnenstraße in 1970/71.From 1972 he worked as an independent civil engineer in West Berlin.

The tour takes about 2.5 hours.

Meeting point: Badstraße / corner Hochstraße, 13357 Berlin

This tour is the Tour M with a contemporary witness (duration 2.5 hours). For the ordinary tour M (2 hours) tickets are not available in advance, but only on the day of the tour on site!

The entrance ticket is valid only for Tour M Spezial and only on the specified date and time. No exchange, refund or return.

Please note: Our eyewitnesses are no longer the youngest. If a time witness fails due to health reasons, we reserve the right to occupy the tour with another contemporary witness or to offer you a replacement date before a cancellation of the ticket purchase. In order to be able to inform you in any case, you will need at least one valid telephone number during the ordering process, at best you also have to enter an e-mail address.

(Program in German)

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