One of the most famous attractions in Berlin is a memorial dedicated to the city’s terrible past.
In this post, you’ll discover the ultimate list of interesting Berlin Wall Memorial Facts!
1. The Memorial was built in the late 1990s
The Berlin Wall Memorial, in German, referred to as the “Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer,” is a monument in the center of the capital of Germany which was built as a reminder of the horrible past of the Berlin Wall, a structure that separated West from East Germany and which ran right through the city.
The Berlin Wall was completed on August 13, 1961, and divided the country and the city until the fall of Communism in the late 1980s. It was eventually torn down on November 9, 1989, followed by the German Reunification less than a year later on October 3, 1990.
A suggestion to build a memorial on the location was made by the “Deutsches Historisches Museum” and a competition was launched to find a design for the monument in 1994. It was finally inaugurated on August 13, 1998, exactly 37 years after the Berlin Wall was completed.
2. It’s located a few kilometers north of a famous checkpoint
The monument was sponsored by both the Federal Republic of Germany and the Federal State of Berlin. It is located right in the heart of Berlin where the Bernauer Straße meets the Ackerstraße.
This is just a few kilometers to the north of the most iconic checkpoint of the Berlin Wall, the place where foreigners had to pass and which was nicknamed “Checkpoint Charlie.”
This checkpoint, which is now an iconic landmark that also features a museum about the history of the Berlin Wall, is located within the vicinity of other famous landmarks in Berlin such as the Pariser Platz, one of the most famous squares in the city, and the Brandenburg Gate, a magnificent triumphal arch.
3. It was built to commemorate two tragedies
The Berlin Wall Memorial was built with a dual purpose. On one hand, it was meant to commemorate the history of the Berlin Wall and serve as a permanent reminder of the tragedy that a wall separating a nation brings.
On the other hand, it was constructed to commemorate the people who lost their lives trying to cross the wall. It’s unknown exactly how many people lost their lives but the estimates range from 136 up to over 200!
The general idea was to make the part leading up to the wall unreachable for the visitors, which means it looks pretty much how it looked during the time that the wall was still standing.
4. It features an original part of the Berlin Wall
Perhaps one of the most important Berlin Wall Memorial facts is that it literally feels this way as well! This is because the so-called “death strip” or “todesstreifen” in German leads up to a real segment of the Berlin Wall.
This original piece of wall is about 60 meters (200 feet) long and the death strip is protected by stainless steel.
5. There’s a fitting inscription on the northern part of the wall
The northern part of the wall has an inscription that emphasizes why the memorial was built and why it had to come to this in the first place. Here is what it says:
In memory of the city’s division from 13 August 1961 to 9 November 1989 and of the victims of communist tyranny!Inscription on Berlin Wall Memorial.
Obviously this is a translation as the inscription German reads: “In Erinnerung an die Teilung der Stadt vom 13. August 1961 bis zum 9. November 1989 und zum Gedenken an die Opfer kommunistischer Gewaltherrschaft.”
6. The Chapel of Reconciliation was built on the location of a destroyed church
The Chapel of Reconciliation is a place of worship where people can pay their respects to the people that died because of the Berlin Wall. It’s part of the Berlin Wall Memorial and was completed in the year 2000.
One of the most remarkable Berlin Wall Memorial facts is that the location where this chapel is located used to be occupied by a large church called the “Church of Reconciliation.” This church was located right within the so-called death strip and was eventually destroyed by the East German Government in the year 1985.
This church was completed in the year 1894 in the Gothic Revival Style but was unfortunately located in the wrong position. The destruction was justified by the East German Government “to increase the security, order, and cleanliness on the state border with West Berlin.”
The Berlin Wall was destroyed just 4 years later!
7. The documentation center features an observation tower
To further enhance the feeling as if the location is still part of the real Berlin Wall, a five-story observation tower is located on the site. This tower is part of the documentation center which adjoins the Berlin Wall Memorial on the other side of Bernauer Straße.
In addition, this center was completed in 2013. This means that the memorial now consists of sections that teach visitors about the death strip, the Berlin Wall, the destruction of the city, the building of the wall, and all the tragic events that happened because of the Berlin Wall.