Border, Contemporary Witnesses, East

Troublespot, Bernauer Strasse

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After the Wall cut Berlin in two, Bernauer Strasse became a particular troublespot. On 13 August 1961 Ursula Behrendt lived on the fifth floor of an apartment block on the street – too high to climb out of the window and abseil down. A few neighbours managed to escape, but her family stayed in their flat until the last few windows were bricked up.

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In 2011, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Wall going up, the rbb interviewed Berliners to find out what the division of the city meant to them. The Wall had a profound impact on the way each person went about their daily lives - no matter what side they found themselves on. Overnight people were cut off from their friends and relatives, from their offices, factories and schools, and from places where they enjoyed spending their leisure time. The division of the city tore families apart, ruptured biographies and claimed many lives.


  • Bernauer Straße, Berlin