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Border crossings between East and West Berlin

On 13 August 1961, the GDR leadership closed the border to West Berlin. On August 22, the GDR Ministry of the Interior established crossing points – seven on streets and one at a train station – to be used by West Berliners, citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany, and foreign nationals. East Berliners and GDR citizens were not permitted to cross the border.

People traveling between the Federal Republic of Germany and West Berlin used transit routes with their own border crossing points.

Former border crossing at Bornholmer Strasse

Former border crossing at Bornholmer Strasse

Of the seven border crossings within the city, the checkpoint at Bornholmer Strasse was furthest to the north. It 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. This crossing point became famous far beyond Berlin’s borders on the night of 9 November 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell in the wake of the peaceful revolution underway in the GDR. … more »

Former border crossing at Chausseestrasse

Former border crossing at Chausseestrasse

West Berliners entering East Berlin could use the border crossing located at the intersection of Chausseestrasse and Liesenstrasse. Visiting the other half of the city was, however, not allowed until the Christmas and New Year’s holidays in 1963/1964, 28 months after the Wall went up, and was restricted to those who had applied for a permit. … more »

Former border crossing at Invalidenstrasse

Former border crossing at Invalidenstrasse

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. … more »

Former border crossing at the Friedrichstrasse station

Former border crossing at the Friedrichstrasse station

The Friedrichstrasse S-Bahn station was the last station before the West Berlin border for trains running east and west and was located in the middle of the city on the north-south line. When the border was sealed off in August 1961, this through station became a terminal and a border crossing point for travelers from both parts of Berlin. The pavilion used for border clearance, dubbed the “Tränenpalast” (Palace of Tears) because of the countless farewells it witnessed until 1989, is still standing today. … more »

Former border crossing at Friedrichstrasse (Checkpoint Charlie)

Former border crossing at Friedrichstrasse (Checkpoint Charlie)

Foreign nationals, members of the Allied armed forces, and diplomats had to use the border crossing at Friedrichstrasse. Over the years, the GDR government made a ten-lane, covered checkpoint out of what was initially a simple road block. … more »

Former border crossing at Heinrich-Heine-Strasse

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. … more »

Former border crossing at Oberbaumbrücke

Former border crossing at Oberbaumbrücke

The bridge Oberbaumbrücke, built from 1894 to 1896, spans the Spree river between the city districts of Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain. This restored bridge has been an important link for automobile and U-Bahn traffic since 9 November 1994. From 1961 to 1989 it was a border checkpoint and could be used only by pedestrians. … more »

Former border crossing at Sonnenallee

Former border crossing at Sonnenallee

After the border was closed, the Sonnenallee checkpoint could be used by West Berliners working in the Soviet sector only if they had a special pass. The more than 65,000 East Berliners who worked, were being trained, or were going to the university in the west were no longer able to cross the border after 13 August 1961. … more »