On The 9th of November 2019 will be The 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. So, here are some interesting facts about this beautiful city that you may not have known yet.
The concrete rampart (which transformed West Berlin into an enclave in the Eastern Bloc) is demolished in a euphoric mood. The Berlin Wall has been in existence for 28 years, two months and 28 days. It was a painful symbol of the division of Germany. Also, the wall was a feature of the conflict between the Soviet bloc and the west.
The construction of the wall began on August 13, 1961 (a few days after the then first DDR man, Walter Ulbricht, promised that “no one intended to build a wall”.
The wall was made to stop the exodus of Germans from east to west (three million people from 1945 to 1961). It was 155 kilometers long. 43 kilometers of the wall cut through the north-south direction of Berlin. With 112 kilometers remaining, the city is isolated from the rest of the DDR.
The Berlin wall is made of 3.6 meters high reinforced concrete with a polished cylindrical tip. This would initially discourage attempts to climb over it.
The wiping area called the “death belt” was located behind the eastern part: This wiped space allowed the East German guards to have a smooth line of fire on the fugitives in an attempt to approach the wall.
Street lamps were installed every 30 meters, making the wall the most illuminated part of Berlin, in contrast to the darkness plunged into East Berlin.
Additional security included alarms, goats, barbed wire, automatic firing devices. Dog patrols were incessant.
In the wiped-out area (which East German soldiers were not allowed to) it was impossible to hide their tracks.
Passing through the Berlin Wall was possible through seven official border crossings. The most famous is certainly Checkpoint Charlie (between today’s Mitte and Kreuzberg districts).
The so-called Checkpint Charlie was the scene of a confrontation between the US and USSR in October 1961, when tanks and soldiers were on standby for several hours to begin firing at each other (after the controversy over the freedom of movement of US diplomat Allan Lightner). this place killed 18-year-old bricklayer Peter Fechter who wanted to escape to his sister to West Berlin.
During the little more than 28 years of the wall’s existence, there have been many attempts to escape to the west. Many of these attempts were fatal. It is estimated that 140 people died between 1961 and 1989 (the exact number is still unknown).
There have been many successful attempts to escape west. The most famous passage was the “tunnel 57”, named after 57 people fled to the west in October 1964. It was dug by students from the west. Tunnel 57 was 140 meters long. The start was in the basement of an abandoned bakery not far from the west side of the wall.
The most famous and spectacular getaway to the west happened in 1988. Then the East Berlin family flew over a wall with a farm jet.
Electronics engineer Winfried Freudenberg is the latest victim of the Berlin Wall. In March 1989 (eight months before the wall collapsed), Freudenberg attempted to fly over the concrete barrier using a balloon. It collapsed above the western part of the city. His fall was devastating.
“Ich bin ein Berliner” – The four words spoken by John Fitzgerald Kennedy during his historic visit to Berlin on June 26, 1963 entered the collective memory.
Two years after the “wall of shame” was erected, the US president wanted to show solidarity with the Berliners in German language.
1987 US President Ronald Reagan stood behind a booth outside the Brandenburg Gate. He shouted to Soviet counterpart Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down that wall.” A 30 years ago, on November 9, 1989 The Berlin Wall is demolished (with a green signal from Moscow).