Walled-Off Bergstrasse

  • © Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer
  • The walled-Off Bergstrasse at the Sophien parish cemetery, ca. 1961
    © Günter Malchow/Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer
  • From Bergstrasse within the border strip with a view of the inner wall, 1983
    © Bundesarchiv Militärarchiv
Walled Off Bergstrasse |2:26 min

You are now standing where the former patrol road crosses Bergstraße, the only street in Berlin that is still divided by the Wall today. As a consequence of the Wall being built in 1961, approximately 300 streets in the city were divided, and became dead-end streets. Bergstraße had formed a connection to the Wedding district since 1752. When the Wall went up, the street on the east side disappeared beneath the border grounds. It was excavated in 2009 and the road surface and curb once again became visible.

On the East Berlin side of the Wall, Bergstraße ran right alongside the cemetery of the Sophien parish, a Protestant church congregation. Before the Wall was erected, the cemetery extended all the way to Bernauer Straße. But beginning in January 1962, some of the graves were moved and gravesites leveled. Room had to be made for the border fortifications.

You are now standing in the middle of the former border strip. If you look towards Bernauer Strase, the inner wall will be behind you. This inner wall closed off the border grounds from the East Berlin side. A piece of the inner wall has been preserved near Bergstraße. Here you can actually see two different inner walls. That is because the border strip changed when the border fortifications were expanded. The last inner wall to be erected no longer exists. Steel posts indicate where it had stood not far from the patrol road. The large photograph on the side of the building gives an impression of how the border strip looked here in 1989/90. If you turn towards Bernauer Straße you’ll see original pieces of the Berlin Wall. Today both sides of the Wall – even the east side – are covered in graffiti. Of course that was not the case before the Wall fell.

The memorial was not interested in reconstructing the border grounds. Instead it chose to conserve the original relics of the border fortifications using historic preservation measures. At places where the original structure no longer exists, weathering steel has been used to represent what is missing. The poles of weathering steel seen here, for example, indicate where the Berlin Wall once stood along Bernauer Straße.