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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.

On 12 May 1963, 12 young men and women attempted to break through the border to West Berlin in a van. Border guards shot at the vehicle; riddled by bullets, it came to a stop just a few yards short of the western boundary, trapped in the narrow passageway through the Wall. The fugitives – many of whom had been wounded by the shots – were arrested.

As usual after an escape attempt, the border troops stepped up security at the border. They set up an additional barrier on East Berlin territory several hundred yards before the actual checkpoint; all vehicles were required to stop here and submit to inspection before being permitted into the checkpoint.

Memorial stone for Günter Litfin

Memorial stone for Günter Litfin

Günter Litfin died on 24 August 1961 attempting to escape to West Berlin. Killed by transport police guarding the railway premises east of Humboldthafen, he was the first person to be shot to death at Berlin’s border after 13 August 1961. The stone put up in his memory was unveiled on the first anniversary of his death. … more »

Berlin Wall History Mile at the Invalidenstrasse border crossing

Berlin Wall History Mile at the Invalidenstrasse border crossing

There are two Berlin Wall History Mile info boards at the former Invalidenstrasse border crossing (west of the Sandkrugbrücke on the sidewalks to the north and south). One describes a failed escape attempt from 1963, while the other tells the story of Günter Litfin, who tried to escape from East to West Berlin through Humboldthafen, a nearby port, eleven days after construction on the Berlin Wall began.

“Wahre Geschichte” (True Story), Gabriele Basch, 1999

“Wahre Geschichte” (True Story), Gabriele Basch, 1999

The artist Gabriele Basch uses logos to tell a “true story.” East and West German logos meet in a mosaic embedded in the sidewalk on the bridge Sandkrugbrücke. They refer to companies or political organizations that either no longer exist or are no longer what they were before 1990. … more »

“Sinkende Mauer”

“Sinkende Mauer”

The sculpture fountain “Sinkende Mauer” (Sinking Wall) was installed in 1997 when Invalidenpark was restored to its former status as a public park. As the centerpiece of the square, it recalls not only the Church of Mercy torn down in 1967, but also the “disappearance” of the walls that bordered on West Berlin. The sculpture fountain was designed by Christophe Girot.