The ‘Berlin Wall’ is probably better known than many of the sites found on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. However, after its fall in November 1989 and subsequent large-scale demolition, people in Germany tried for many years to suppress and forget the division and separation that the structure symbolised.
Where can one still find any remnants and traces of the 155 kilometre stretch of the Berlin Wall that surrounded West Berlin? How did the complex border system work which the GDR had erected to prevent its citizens from escaping to West Berlin? Where are Berlin Wall memorials erected in many countries around the world?
All the remaining parts of the border installation from between 1961 and 1989/1990 are documented within this interactive Geographic Information System. Based on a detailed survey of 2007/2008, it is supplemented by information on the function of the border elements and by a photo documentation from the years 1988/89, both of which help to demonstrate the extent of the former border installation. Today the surviving border elements still reflect the varying and staggered depth of the border region: the border line, the border strip lying between the border wall facing west and ‘hinterland security wall’ facing east, and the additional perimeter defences installed to prevent any approach to the border strip from its eastern side.
The documentation of the border’s infrastructure, such as the Border Troops’ barracks and training grounds, is still in its infancy.
This internet service is provided by the Department of Architectural Conservation at the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus and is the result of the project module ‘A Geographic Information System for the Berlin Wall’ under the project financed by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) entitled: “The Berlin Wall as a symbol of the Cold War: from an instrument of the SED’s domestic policy to an architectural monument of international significance.” Also involved in this project are the Institut für Zeitgeschichte Institute for Contemporary History Munich – Berlin and the Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt Armed Forces Research Office, Potsdam.
Since January 1, 2013, the website and database are the property of and administrated by the Berlin Wall Foundation. It is the task of the Foundation to document and inform about the history of the Berlin Wall and the exodus from the German Democratic Republic that occurred as part of and under the impact of Germany’s division and the East-West conflict in the 20th century. It also works to preserve the historical sites and authentic remains of this history and to allow for a dignified commemoration of the victims of communist tyranny.
The Foundation is also interested in drawing attention to the many different remains and traces of the Berlin Wall that still exist in the city today, but which because of their fragility and inconspicuousness are threatened daily.