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Former border crossing at Friedrichstrasse (Checkpoint Charlie)

Starting on 22 September 1961, Allied border guards registered members of the American, British, and French armed forces at Checkpoint Charlie before they crossed into East Berlin. Foreign tourists could obtain information here about visiting East Berlin.

Checkpoint “Charlie” took its name from the NATO alphabet: the members of the Allied armed forces reached the Berlin city center via Checkpoint A (Alpha) near Helmstedt, the point at which they crossed into the GDR from the Federal Republic of Germany; Checkpoint B (Bravo) near Drewitz, where they left the GDR and crossed into West Berlin; and Checkpoint C (Charlie) at Friedrichstrasse, where they left West Berlin for East Berlin.

Because it had been designated as a crossing point for the members of the Allied armed forces, the Friedrichstrasse checkpoint became the scene of a confrontation between U.S. and Soviet tanks in October 1961. As a symbol of the conflict between the two world powers, “Checkpoint Charlie” became the city’s most famous border crossing.

Today an installation by the artist Frank Thiel and a Berlin Wall History Mile info board recall the former crossing point. The Wall museum Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie, which has put up a replica on Friedrichstrasse of the first guardhouse used by the Allies, is also located at the former checkpoint.

Visitors who have a little extra time should follow Zimmerstrasse east to Charlottenstrasse to visit the memorial for Peter Fechter, away from the crowds touring the former checkpoint, or take a look at the remains of the Wall on the grounds of the Topography of Terror, to the west of Checkpoint Charlie.
Wall museum – Haus am Checkpoint Charlie

Wall museum – Haus am Checkpoint Charlie

The Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie displays a permanent exhibition on the history of the Berlin Wall and on the international fight for human rights, including many objects used by fugitives and their helpers in their escape. … more »

Berlin Wall History Mile at the Friedrichstrasse border crossing

Berlin Wall History Mile at the Friedrichstrasse border crossing

The Berlin Wall History Mile info board at the Friedrichstrasse border crossing tells about the time that U.S. and Soviet tanks faced off against each other at the checkpoint on 27 October 1961 (at the corner of Zimmerstrasse and Friedrichstrasse in front of Café Adler). This conflict was over the right to unrestricted movement in both parts of Berlin for members of the Allied forces.

“Ohne Titel” (light boxes), Frank Thiel, 1998

“Ohne Titel” (light boxes), Frank Thiel, 1998

Frank Thiel’s light-box installation (“Untitled”) shows two larger-than-life color portraits. A young American and a young “Soviet” soldier each look into the other’s territory, thus marking the dividing line and crossing point between the former spheres of influence of the two world powers. The photos were taken in 1994 before the Allied forces withdrew from Berlin. Since the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, the “Soviet” soldier is wearing the uniform of the new Russian federation. … more »

Outdoor exhibition at Checkpoint Charlie

Outdoor exhibition at Checkpoint Charlie

With 175 large-format photos and short texts in German and English, an outdoor exhibition on Friedrichstrasse explains the history and significance of this former border crossing. … more »