About the project

“The Berlin Wall – A multimedia history” is an online project developed by Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb) to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall on November 9, 2014. Two hundred and fifty films document life in the divided city from 1961 to 1989. Such a historical panorama would, of course, not be complete without taking a look at the fall of the Wall on November 9, 1989 and German reunification in 1990. The short clips are taken from the archives of Radio Free Berlin (SFB)/rbb, the German Broadcasting Archive (DRA) and GDR television.

The films paint a vivid picture of everyday life in the divided city. Berliners from East and West talk about their personal experiences of living with the Wall: how they fled from East to West, how they were separated from their families, how they went about their day-to-day lives in the shadow of the Wall. We interview escape helpers and follow the development of border fortifications as they grew higher and more impenetrable year by year. The clips feature Walter Ulbricht’s historic statements, famous addresses from Kennedy and Reagan, and speeches from well-known dissidents, authors and actors who gathered on Alexanderplatz in the autumn of 1989 as a wind of change swept over East Germany. We trace the easing of tensions between East and West, improving conditions for Berliners after many years of hardship caused by Cold War tensions in the 1960s. People from both sides of the Wall give first-hand accounts of their experiences of living in East and West.

This website is optimised for mobile devices. When you’re out and about in Berlin, use the digital map to visit the sites featured in the archive footage and travel back in time to learn about the event at the place it happened. If you’re interested in a particular time period, simply select the year on the timeline. You can also group the videos according to particular themes. The timeline features the following categories: the border, escaping, contemporary witnesses, everyday life, politics, opposition, culture, East, and West. Save the clips that interest you the most and create your own Berlin Wall documentary.

Rundfunk Berlin Brandenburg (rbb) is the public service broadcaster for the states of Berlin and Brandenburg and is part of the consortium of public broadcasters in Germany (ARD).