Although this is a way away from the main tourist attractions in Berlin, it’s one not to be missed.
The memorial stretches for 1.4km from Bernauer Strasse as far as Mauerpark and is filled with a host of photos, information, audio clips and even plaques to show escape tunnel routes and where those who tried to escape East Germany perished.
The start of the memorial at Bernauer Strasse
Remains of the inner wall
An aerial photograph showing the outline of the wall and the inner wall where the guards stood watch
The route of one of the many escape tunnels along the stretch of the wall
Perhaps the most eerie part is at the beginning where you find yourself standing in the death strip itself between the inner border strip and the wall, much of which remains in tact. One part of this strip is wholly preserved and can be viewed from the top floor of the museum on the opposite side of the road, which is free to enter and contains fascinating insights into the construction of the wall, stories of informants and those in West Germany who risked their lives helping others to escape.
A memorial to those who perished trying to flee from East to West Germany
The ‘death strip’ as viewed from the museum across the street
All along the route there are photos depicting the wall through the different decades which gives you an incredible sense of what it would have been like from both sides and shows that the wall not only divided east and west but family and friends.
Perhaps most moving of all is the memorial to those who died trying to flee from east to west, old and young alike, and those who perished only months before the liberation.
One tale, documented next to the memorial plaque on the pavement as shown in the photograph below, tells the story of Olga Segler, who was separated from her daughter in West Berlin when the border was closed. In 1961, she lived in a building occupied by border police. On September 24th 1961, police began to evacuate these houses on Bernauer Strasse. Many people, including Olga, tried to flee. From the West Berlin pavement, her daughter encouraged her to jump and on September 25th, the 80-year-old woman jumped from the 2nd floor of an apartment into a firemen’s rescue net. Sadly, she was seriously hurt and despite being taken to hospital, died the next day from her injuries.
A plaque in the pavement dedicated to the memory of Olga Segler, an 80 year old woman who dies after jumping from her apartment in an attempt to flee to the west to be with her daughter.
History is brought to life in a unique way as this is more like a living museum. A must visit!