Berlin Wall Trail - From Hennigsdorf to Hohen Neuendorf
A 10-kilometer bike ride along a varied scenic route from Hennigsdorf to Hohen Neuendorf will bring you to the last border crossing to go into operation – shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall – near Stolpe. In order to reduce the traffic load on the F5 (or B5) highway, which was no longer able to accommodate the rising traffic between Hamburg and West Berlin, the GDR built an expressway (today’s A111) from 1981 to 1982 that was paid for by West Germany. The Stolpe border crossing opened in 1982, but originally served only travelers driving from West Berlin to Scandinavia. It was also possible to enter the GDR (even for pedestrians using a shuttle bus service to the border) at Stolpe. Traffic to Hamburg, however, continued to be routed through the old Staaken border crossing on Spandau’s Heerstrasse. Construction of the West Berlin feeder road through Tegel Forest was delayed: citizens’ groups were worried about damage to the environment and had filed suit against the clearing of woodland. From the former border crossing you cycle along the edge of Tegel Forest and the golf course Stolper Heide and through the “Invalidensiedlung,” a settlement built for disabled veterans of World War I, to Hohen Neuendorf in Brandenburg.
There 18-year-old Marienetta Jirkowsky, her fiancé, and a friend tried to escape to West Berlin from a vacant property on Florastrasse in the middle of the night on 21 November 1980. Ladders they had found nearby helped them to make it over the inner wall (“Hinterlandmauer”) and the signal fence, but by the time they reached the border patrol road they were spotted by GDR border guards. After calling out and firing warning shots, several guards opened fire. They fired 27 shots, hitting Marinetta Jirkowsky in the stomach in front of the outer wall. She died of her injuries the next day. Marinetta Jirkowsky was one of the few women to attempt an escape across the Berlin Wall. The two men made it to West Berlin, where they were contacted by so-called “unofficial collaborators” on behalf of the GDR’s Ministry for State Security (Stasi), who warned them against making the story public. One of these “unofficial collaborators” later removed the cross that her friends had put up in Frohnau in memory of the young woman. The 20-year-old border guard in charge that night, who was responsible for the killing, was sentenced in 1995 to a year and three months in a juvenile prison for second-degree manslaughter; the sentence was suspended. (The photo shown here was taken during the Stasi’s reconstruction of the escape attempt.). A Berlin Wall Trail info marker on Florastrasse recalls the young woman’s failed attempt.
- About the route: This 10-kilometer trip starts at the Hennigsdorf S-Bahn station. From there you go southeast, taking the street Am Bahndamm and Hafenstrasse to Ruppiner Strasse, which will bring you back to the border strip further to the south on the other side of the bridge across the canal. There the Wall Trail makes a sharp turn to the east and follows the border across the A111 until it changes direction, turning north. On the edge of the golf course Stolper Heide, the route first runs east and then, at Schönfliesser Strasse, continues north again. At Gollanczstrasse the trail crosses the border onto what was once West Berlin territory, staying parallel to the border strip until it reaches Staehleweg. There signs will guide you through the “Invalidensiedlung” onto Florastrasse and Berliner Strasse, where you can head for the Hohen Neuendorf S-Bahn station on the other side of the traffic circle. If you are on foot, you can easily interrupt your tour at the former Stolpe border crossing (the bridge over the A111 expressway) and take the S-Bahn back from the Heiligensee S-Bahn station.