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Memorial sites for the victims of the Berlin Wall

Between 1961 and 1988, well over 100,000 citizens of the GDR tried to escape across the inner-German border or the Berlin Wall. Along the Berlin Wall alone, from 1961 to 1989 at least 136 people were killed or died in other ways directly connected to the GDR border regime.

Today the Berlin Wall Memorial, the memorial for Günter Litfin, the “Parlament der Bäume” (Parliament of Trees), the Wall memorial at the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus, and other sites that were established in West Berlin between 1961 and 1989 honor the memory of the victims of the Berlin Wall.

Berlin Wall Memorial

Berlin Wall Memorial

The sealing off of the sector border starting on 13 August 1961 made dramatic changes especially in the everyday lives of the people living on Bernauer Strasse. From one day to the next, they could no longer travel freely through their own neighborhood, and neighbors, friends, and relatives were separated from one another. The house across the street was suddenly part of another political system. Through no fault of their own and against their will, the people of Bernauer Strasse became eyewitnesses to and actors in an episode of post-war German history in Berlin. … more »

Memorial for Günter Litfin

Memorial for Günter Litfin

On 24 August 1961, Günter Litfin was shot and killed by members of the transport police as he attempted to flee to West Berlin. He became the first victim of shots fired at the border between East and West Berlin after the Wall went up on 13 August 1961. This memorial was established in memory of Günter Litfin and of all the other victims of the SED regime who were killed or injured on the GDR border. … more »

“Parlament der Bäume gegen Krieg und Gewalt”

“Parlament der Bäume gegen Krieg und Gewalt”

The “Parlament der Bäume gegen Krieg und Gewalt” (Parliament of Trees against War and Violence) is a memorial for the people who died at the Berlin Wall and was started by the artist Ben Wagin on the former border strip in 1990. This installation of trees, memorial stones, original parts of the border fortifications, pictures, and text was created by various artists. The names of 258 victims of the Wall are inscribed on slabs of granite. … more »

“Weisse Kreuze” memorial / German Bundestag

“Weisse Kreuze” memorial / German Bundestag

The GDR’s border fortifications ran along the eastern side of the Reichstag building (today the home of the German Bundestag). The southern bank of the Spree belonged to West Berlin, while the water itself was on East Berlin territory. In 1971, on the tenth anniversary of the construction of the Wall, a group of private citizens called the “Berliner Bürger-Verein” established the “Weisse Kreuze” (White Crosses) memorial site at the point where, until 1990, the outer wall met the riverbank. … more »

Memorial for Peter Fechter

Memorial for Peter Fechter

Peter Fechter was shot by GDR border guards on 17 August 1962 as he and a coworker attempted to climb over the Wall to West Berlin. … more »