Watchtower at Strelitzer Straße

  • © Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer
  • © Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer
  • The watchtower on Strelitzer Strasse, 1986
    © Bundesarchiv Militärarchiv
Representation of a Watchtower |1:41 min

Before the Wall fell, five watchtowers were used by the East German border guards on Bernauer Straße. You are standing before a representation of one of these watchtowers at the corner of Bernauer Straße and Strelitzer Straße.

The watchtowers stood at regular intervals of about 250 meters. The watchtowers were positioned so that the border guards posted on them had a good view of the border area on both sides. From the towers they were able to maintain surveillance of the border strip and also monitor activity in the rear area behind the border. Hence they were able to quickly notice someone who was intending to escape. Border soldiers were also expected to observe activity on the West Berlin side of the Wall.

The Berlin Wall Foundation uses an abstract representation here to show the watchtower. It is designed to give an impression of the size of the watchtower that was dismantled on Strelitzer Strasse in 1990 and also to convey a sense of the total surveillance of the border strip. The position of the steel construction is based on the tower that originally stood at this historic site. Four 11.8 meter high square-angled columns made of weathering steel are positioned into a square and set into a concrete foundation.

You can find an original preserved watchtower inside the monument across from the Documentation Center. This watchtower of the BT-9 series originally stood at another site. It was disassembled into its many single parts and remounted here in November 2009.