The Haus am Checkpoint Charlie Museum is one of a kind. A Berlin institution, there is simply no other museum quite like it as a chronicle of the Cold War Years and the extraordinary and highly ingenious escape attempts made by GDR citizens to reach the West.
Checkpoint Charlie, along with Glienicker Brücke (Glienicker Bridge) was the best known border-crossing of the Cold War days. Its famous sign "You are now leaving the American sector" situated here became one of the iconic images of political and territorial division marked by the Berlin Wall and can now be seen exhibited in the museum.
The Museum first started as an exhibition on the Berlin Wall, on October 19, 1962 in an a small two-room apartement on the Bernauer Straße, one of the Berlin streets divided into east and west by the Wall. The Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie opened on June 14, 1963, as the vision stemming from its freedom-fighter founder and director Reiner….who died in 2004. Ideally located next to the border-crossing from where the toing and froing next to the border could be observed.
Throughout the years it was constantly extended in its effort to chronicle the historical and political milestones which the divided city was experiencing including the confrontation between the Soviet and US tanks at Checkpoint Charlie in 1961. Many of the exhibits which can be seen in the museum resulted from the solidarity shown to escapees such as the hot-air balloons, the escape vehicles with special concealments, and the one-man submarine.
Part of the exhibition is devoted to the great heroes of our times and to non-violent action and the days when political dissidents fought against the risk of being incarcerated as prisoners of conscience. Other impressive acquisitions include the Charta 77 typewriter, Elena Bonner’s ‘death mask’ of Andrei Sacharov and Mahatma Ghandi’s diary.