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Former border crossing at Heinrich-Heine-Strasse

Goods and postal transport between the two halves of the city were inspected at the Heinrich-Heine-Strasse checkpoint, which is why it was one of the largest border crossings. West German citizens were also able to enter East Berlin from this crossing point. The area west of Heinrich-Heine-Strasse used today to sell cars was part of the border crossing until 1990.

On 18 April 1962, three men from East Berlin attempted to crash through the barriers of the checkpoint with a truck. The guards opened fire, shooting the driver, Klaus Brüske, who still managed to maneuver the vehicle onto West Berlin territory. He died at the site, while his two passengers suffered what were in part very serious injuries.

To prevent further escapes, an extra slalom barrier was added to the checkpoint. Nevertheless, two men from West Berlin and two women from East Berlin made a similar attempt on 26 December 1965. The women were discovered hidden in the car; border guards then shot and killed the 27-year-old driver, Heinz Schöneberger, who had attempted to escape on foot. The other West Berliner and the two women were arrested.
Berlin Wall History Mile at the Heinrich-Heine-Strasse border crossing

Berlin Wall History Mile at the Heinrich-Heine-Strasse border crossing

The memorial crosses put up for Klaus Brüske and Heinz Schöneberger, who were killed by border guards at the Heinrich-Heine-Strasse checkpoint, have long since disappeared. The Berlin Wall History Mile info board (on the western side of Heinrich-Heine-Strasse near Sebastianstrasse) describes the escape attempts of the two men, who in 1962 and 1965 tried to reach West Berlin. … more »

“Übergang zur Untergrundbahn” (U-Bahn Transition), Susanne Ahner, 1999

“Übergang zur Untergrundbahn” (U-Bahn Transition), Susanne Ahner, 1999

The U-Bahn tunnel under the Heinrich-Heine-Strasse checkpoint was also kept under surveillance. GDR border guards kept an eye on West Berlin’s BVG trains from a guardhouse between the tracks. … more »