53 years ago today

GDR border guards shoot man during boat trip in Teltow Canal On 15 June 1965, Hermann Döbler (42) and his companion Elke Märtens (21) are discovered by two border guards during a boat trip on the [...]

Berlin Whitsun Riots 1987

How music overcomes the wall In 1987, on the Whitsun weekend in West Berlin, rock superstars such as David Bowie and Genesis joined hands to celebrate the 750th anniversary when they performed at [...]

The Pan-European Picnic

How a feast paved the way to freedom On 19 August 1989, a joint picnic of Austrian and Hungarian citizens was to take place in the Sopron border area. The reason for this joint picnic was the [...]

Wall art

The era of wall art began in 1976 when the GDR border troops started to build a new wall of concrete segments on the west side. These were around 3.60 m high and mostly painted white. Of course, [...]


During the years of the Berlin Wall, air traffic to West Berlin ran via three fixed air corridors. Hamburg (northwest), Bückeburg (west) and Frankfurt (southwest).   German planes were not [...]

“New” wall fragments

After decades of division, Berliners in East and West were fed up with the Wall. Therefore, in 1989, there was little interest in preserving pieces. Wall-snatchers and companies on official [...]

Operation Gold

Long before the Wall was built in 1961, clandestine tunnels had been built under the border strip. Smugglers used houses located on the border to create routes without customs checks by breaking [...]

Hang Gliding in the GDR

20 December 1986:  A self-built glider was to take the passionate hang-glider pilot from Fahrland to West Berlin, six kilometres away. The escape plan fails: The 37-year-old is arrested and [...]

East Side Gallery

In recent decades, the cosmopolitan city of Berlin has become one of the world’s top locations for art and culture. Swinging London or the Big Apple were yesterday, today the metropolis of [...]

Free German Youth

The communist youth organisation FDJ was not a new creation of the GDR. An FDJ had already been founded in 1936 by communists in exile in Paris.  had been founded. In Czechoslovakia, other [...]

GDR Health System

For a long time, the state health system in the GDR was considered exemplary, because every sick or injured person had the right to be treated free of charge, and the state managed to provide [...]


The end of the Second World War was for many years also the end of German aviation. The civil airline Lufthansa disappeared from the skies. In 1953, the Aktiengesellschaft für Luftverkehrsbedarf [...]

Punk in the GDR

In the GDR, young people were always supposed to be well-behaved, socialist, clean and loyal to the line. And for a long time the GDR leadership succeeded in maintaining this image. But there [...]

Christmas in the GDR

For the state leadership of the German Democratic Republic, Christmas was a problem in the real existing socialism, the Christian holidays did not really fit into their ideology of an atheistic [...]

The Berlin Air

Ja, ja, ja, das ist die Berliner Luft, Luft, Luft so mit ihrem holden Duft, Duft, Duft wo nur selten was verpufft, pufft, pufft in dem Duft, Duft, Duft dieser Luft, Luft, Luft Das macht die [...]

The GDR discovers Prussia

The state of Prussia ended its existence in 1945. Formally, however, it continued to exist until its formal dissolution by Allied Control Council Law No. 46 of 25 February 1947.  It says:  „The [...]