Although the East German authorities stopped people escaping through the Bernauer Strasse apartment blocks by demolishing them, this did not stop the constant stream of escape attempts generally. Over the course of its 28-year operational life the Berlin Wall was therefore constantly improved, refined and reinforced. At the end of 1961 the “provisional” wall consisted of a wall, inner barbed wire fence, anti-vehicle barricade and then a screen to restrict visibility. With each successive escape refinements were made. By 1983 there were walls, fences, ditches, lights, alarms, guard towers, observations posts, patrol dogs, and many other devices designed to prevent escape.
One of the focal points of the Berlin Wall Memorial is a replica of the wall itself, stood where the wall stood. Barriers seal it off at either end, so it is not possible to access the area, but stairs to a viewing platform allow visitors to look down and try to understand what an escape attempt may have involved. The rounded top of the nearest perimeter wall, bordering West Berlin, was designed so that grappling hooks could not find a purchase.
A perspective can also be gained from the other side of the wall in East Berlin. The viewing platform can be seen in the background.
The scale of the wall together with its death strip is illustrated on one of the many information boards.
Just beyond this replica are a few segments of the original wall. When the border strip was put up along Bernauer Strasse approximately 1,000 graves had to be moved. However, it is believed that the graves of World War II bomb victims may not have been exhumed and that instead the wall was simply built over them. In 1997 these segments of the wall were removed and have been stored on the grounds of what was the cemetery ever since.
Points on this part of the walk (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth):
- Berlin Wall Replica: N 52° 32.100 E 013° 23.400
- Original Segments of the Berlin Wall: N 52° 32.040 E 013° 23.360
Berlin Day 2 Walk Statistics (of which this post forms the fourth part):
- Date of Walk: 20 December 2013
- Total distance covered: 5.79 miles
- CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO INTERACTIVE MAP!!!