Direkt zum Inhalt der Seite springen

Former border crossing at Bornholmer Strasse

Of the seven border crossings within the city, the checkpoint at Bornholmer Strasse was furthest to the north. After the border was completely sealed off, the checkpoint extended from Bösebrücke to Malmöer Strasse and, according to the GDR Ministry of the Interior, was to be used by citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany when crossing into East Berlin.

On 9 November 1989, after West German television stations reported a change in travel regulations that had just been announced by GDR politburo member Günter Schabowski, a growing crowd of East Berliners started collecting at the checkpoints on the border to West Berlin. They wanted to take advantage of their new right to travel right away.

The first GDR citizens to show up at the Bornholmer Strasse checkpoint were permitted to leave for West Berlin, although the head of the passport control units had their passports stamped invalid, expatriating the passport holders without their knowledge. As crowds of people continued to arrive, however, this strategy had to be abandoned. Two hours later, the guards “opened the floodgates” and raised the barrier. Over the next hour, around 20,000 people were able to cross the Bösebrücke bridge without being checked. On this night, the peaceful revolution underway in the GDR and the political changes taking place in the countries of Eastern Europe had succeeded in opening the Berlin Wall.

The "Platz des 9. November 1989" is currently being laid out northeast of the Bösebrücke at the site of the former checkpoint, along with an outdoor exhibition on the historical events of that time. The new square will be marked off by a section of the "inner security wall" (Hinterlandsicherungsmauer) that once enclosed the checkpoint at right angles to the border. The Berlin Wall Trail runs below the bridge along what was once the border patrol road. The installation “Mind the Gap” by (e.) Twin Gabriel, an info board from the Berlin Wall History Mile, and commemorative plaques at both ends of the bridge also call attention to the former checkpoint.
Memorial stone commemorating the fall of the Wall in 1989

Memorial stone commemorating the fall of the Wall in 1989

Every year on November 9, people from Berlin gather at the Bösebrücke in the evening to recall the events of 1989. The memorial stone commemorating the fall of the Wall was put up on the first anniversary of the events. … more »

Berlin Wall History Mile at the Bornholmer Strasse border crossing

Berlin Wall History Mile at the Bornholmer Strasse border crossing

A Berlin Wall History Mile info board has been put up at the former checkpoint at Bornholmer Strasse. It focuses on this area's history as a local transport hub, which was shut down gradually starting as early as 1952. (Location: the traffic island on Bornholmer Strasse, west of the Bösebrücke.)

“Mind the Gap,” (e.) Twin Gabriel, 1999

“Mind the Gap,” (e.) Twin Gabriel, 1999

Right in the middle of the bridge Bornholmer Brücke, at the site of what was a GDR border crossing until 1990, an unusual red piece of furniture invites visitors to take a seat. The artists (e.) Twin Gabriel call their piece “Mind the Gap,” pointing out that “this is a former checkpoint, an interface between two systems, a chilblain of the Cold War.” … more »

A section of the "inner security wall"

A section of the "inner security wall"

There are still many remains and traces of the border fortifications at the former border crossing at Bornholmer Strasse. On the north side of Bornholmer Strasse, between the bridge and Björnsenstrasse, you can still see a 200-meter-long section of the "inner security wall" (Hinterlandsicherungsmauer) that marked the boundary of the checkpoint. … more »