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Former border crossing at Sonnenallee

Compared to other checkpoints, the border crossing at Sonnenallee attracted little attention during the years of division. Lines at this checkpoint were rare, except around the time of the permit agreements concluded in 1963/1964 and at Easter in 1972, which permitted West Berliners to travel to East Berlin before the Quadripartite Agreement on Berlin went into force. Before the film “Sonnenallee,” made after the fall of the Wall in November 1989, this border crossing was unknown outside Berlin.

Following Heidekampgraben south will take you across Forsthausallee to Britzer Allee and to the bridge across the Britzer Zweigkanal. Chris Gueffroy, the last fugitive to be shot by GDR border guards in Berlin, died on the southern bank of this canal in February 1989. On the bank of the canal, a monument by the artist Karl Biedermann recalls his death.

Memorial plaque for the fall of the Wall in 1989

Memorial plaque for the fall of the Wall in 1989

Embedded in the ground on Sonnenallee at the corner of Heidekampgraben, a relief by the artists Rüdiger Roehl and Jan Skuin recalls the events of 9 November 1989. The memorial plaque was commissioned by the Borough Offices of two neighboring boroughs, Treptow-Köpenick and Neukölln, and presented to the public on 20 March 1993 in honor of the anniversary of the GDR’s first free elections (18 March 1990).

Berlin Wall History Mile at the Sonnenallee border crossing

Berlin Wall History Mile at the Sonnenallee border crossing

The Sonnenallee checkpoint is marked by a double row of cobblestones and a Berlin Wall History Mile info board (on the northern side of Sonnenallee on the corner of Heidekampgraben). It shows the crowds that gathered at the checkpoint at Easter in 1972, before the Quadripartite Agreement on Berlin went into force, when West Berliners were permitted to travel to East Berlin. … more »

“Übergang – Nähe und Distanz” (Crossing: Proximity and Distance), Heike Ponwitz

“Übergang – Nähe und Distanz” (Crossing: Proximity and Distance), Heike Ponwitz

What can be seen here? The telescopes set up by Heike Ponwitz at the former Sonnenallee border crossing – as a “symbol of the surveillance conducted in the past and of the people’s longing for distance and expanse” – seem utterly out of place here at the edge of an unspectacular housing development. Because they are so unexpected, they attract attention and open “the gates of the eyes to the here and now.” … more »

Memorial for Chris Gueffroy at the Britzer Zweigkanal

Memorial for Chris Gueffroy at the Britzer Zweigkanal

On the night of 5 February 1989, 20-year-old Chris Gueffroy and a friend planned to escape from East Berlin to West Berlin. The two of them wrongly believed that border guards were no longer shooting at people fleeing over the Wall. … more »