Former border crossing at Invalidenstrasse

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The Invalidenstrasse border crossing was located east of the Sandkrugbrücke, a bridge over the Spandauer Schifffahrtskanal, near Berlin’s central train station. A dramatic escape attempt took place at this checkpoint in May 1963.

On 12 May 1963, 12 young men and women attempted to break through the border to West Berlin in a van. Border guards shot at the vehicle; riddled by bullets, it came to a stop just a few yards short of the western boundary, trapped in the narrow passageway through the Wall. The fugitives – many of whom had been wounded by the shots – were arrested. As usual after an escape attempt, the border troops stepped up security at the border. They set up an additional barrier on East Berlin territory several hundred yards before the actual checkpoint; all vehicles were required to stop here and submit to inspection before being permitted into the checkpoint.