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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.

On Mühlenstrasse, northwest of the former border crossing, a section of the inner wall painted in 1990 has been preserved between the Oberbaumbrücke and the Ost-Bahnhof train station. Known as the “East Side Gallery,” it is protected as a historical monument and was painstakingly restored in 2009 for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall.

Five-year-old Cetin Mert drowned on 11 May 1975 at Gröbenufer, the bank of the Spree southwest of the Oberbaumbrücke. He had fallen from the high quay wall into the river, the entire width of which was on East Berlin territory. West Berliners and West Berlin firefighters rushed to the riverbank, but GDR border guards refused to let them rescue the boy.

West Berliners did not intervene, because they could have been shot for "violating the border." The GDR border guards also failed to help. It was not until 29 October 1975 that the West Berlin Senate and the GDR government signed a treaty allowing West Berliners to respond to water emergencies along the border. In addition, Gröbenufer was secured by a fine-mesh fence and warning signs in several languages.

Correspondence between the two sides (only in German) can be seen at:
www.chronik-der-mauer.de/index.php/chronik/1975/(Externer Link)

Berlin Wall History Mile at the Oberbaumbrücke border crossing

Berlin Wall History Mile at the Oberbaumbrücke border crossing

An info board at the Oberbaumbrücke (southwest of the bridge at the corner of May-Ayim-Ufer) explains the four permit agreements signed by the West Berlin Senate and the government of the GDR that enabled West Berliners to apply for permits to visit the eastern half of the city at special times. Another info board on May-Ayim-Ufer, opposite Bevernstrasse, is dedicated to the people who drowned or were shot by GDR border guards between 1961 and 1989 while attempting to swim across the Spree to West Berlin.

“Stein-Papier-Schere,” Thorsten Goldberg, 1997

“Stein-Papier-Schere,” Thorsten Goldberg, 1997

At night, a game of “rock, paper, scissors” (Stein-Papier-Schere) runs in two light boxes installed in the support of the U-Bahn line on Oberbaumbrücke. Inside the boxes, a random generator controls three colorful fluorescent tubes, which form the outline of a fist, an outstretched hand, or a hand with two splayed fingers. Here, where two political systems once confronted one another, the artist Thorsten Goldberg raises the question of how decisions are made. … mehr »

Memorial stone for Udo Düllick

Memorial stone for Udo Düllick

Private citizens put up a memorial on West Berlin's Gröbenufer near the Oberbaumbrücke in November 1961. The stone was dedicated to an “unknown fugitive” who has since been identified as Udo Düllick. In 1984 the site was expanded to honor the memory of eleven other victims. Today only the original memorial stone remains; a Berlin Wall History Mile info board explains its background.