Facts About The Berlin Wall
Or Farewell To GDR

Actual facts about the Berlin Wall will from time to time change since there were dual statistics and competing systems- East Germany and West Germany both representing to world systems of that time-communist and capitalist. Under such circumstances the truth is learnt after years.

Berlin Wall as it is perceived by the mass media and some people all over the globe as just outer wall was not in reality the same. Berlin Wall was a multi layer structure around Western Sectors of Berlin which was very strongly guarded by East Germany border guards.

In the city and around Berlin it looked different. It was just a fence in some areas of Brandenburg which was and is still a region around Berlin.

One can ask why people tried to escape using the most guarded sector of the Berlin Wall as Friedrichstrasse or area near Brandenburg Gate if they could use other sectors less guarded and therefore less dangerous.

Under some circumstances occurred exchange of territories along the border which was the so called Berlin Wall. It means the situation and relationships of East and West Berlin Governments was not so bad as of both Koreas. And they could reach certain mutually beneficial agreements.

This fact is also important since the both East and West Germanys realized the importance of negotiations and did not use the political tension for their personal benefits threatening the world when it was useful.

Let us consider also other important facts about the Berlin Wall having economic, political and psycological impact on the both countries and may be the whole world.

It should be emphasized that the Berlin Wall had several versions. It developed from a simple mesh fence into a strong structure designed for guarding border between the Capitalist West and Communist East. Actually it was the Wall between two systems.

One of the main facts about the Berlin Wall and purpose of Berlin Wall was to prevent GDR citizens to escape to the West. The existence of the Wall from 1961-1989 was in reality declaration of political and economic bankruptcy of GDR as the state.

GDR constructed the Wall against its own people opposed to other Walls existed in the history. People , the manpower is the most valuable object in any country and educated people have special value. At that time educated people of GDR knew that they could have better prospects in the West Germany from the economic point of view. And political issue played a role since the system built in GDR suppressed people because of their political views differing from the main stream. Those GDR citizens, who had special thinking and expressed them, had problems with the system.

On the other hand usual people following and accepting the slogans of the Party had relatively good lives which some of them miss now- there were no unemployment, free medicine, free education and other beauties of socialism.

Berlin Wall Victims Some other facts about the Berlin Wall

  • Around 100,000 citizens of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) tried to escape across Berlin Wall in the period from 1961 until 1988.
  • More than 600 of shot dead by GDR border guards or died under other circumstances in the course of the attempt to cross the border such as committing suicide when being caught by the guards and other cases.
  • At least 136 people were killed or died in other ways directly connected to the GDR border regime between 1961 and 1989, including
  • 98 people who were shot, accidentally killed, or killed themselves when they were caught trying to make it over the Wall.
  • 30 people from both East and West who where shot or died in an accident.
  • 8 GDR border guards who were killed while on duty by deserters, fellow border guards, or a West Berlin police officer.
  • At least 251 travelers from East and West who died before, during, or after inspections at checkpoints in Berlin.

Most victims and trials to escape happened at the beginning of the Wall construction. Later on people did not have even opportunity to approach to the Berlin Wall, because it was strongly guarded and observed at the distance, which made even trials problematic.

The way East Germans tried to escape was very creative. Some even tried balloons to fly through the border. People living for years on Friedrichstrasse never approached Checkpoint Charlie even if it was very close. We know one person who told us that it was absolutely impossible to approach the Wall in the sector of Friedrichstrasse.

People lived in that street and daily routine did something special with them-they forgot about it. They did not notice it any more. But from time to time they had to remember.

That person told that one morning being a schoolboy, he had to go to school earlier. On the way to school he heard a lot of noise- people running, shooting. He was afraid. Actually, he did not know what was going on. He had to hide for a while as some other people did. And then it became all of a sudden quiet. And then after some time, the life was going on as usually. Later on he learnt from the talk of his parents in the kitchen that it had been a Soviet solder killed when trying to escape.

After many years that guy was called to serve in the army. It was his duty. He agreed but during the talk to military officials at the examination he expressed his wish not to serve in the border patrol. They did not argue with him.

He knew one thing- he would not shoot at people trying to cross the border. Amongst them were sometimes children, pregnant women and elderly. This decision he made that morning, when he realized that someone was killed at the Berlin Wall. This is one of the true stories, which we wanted to share with you. Impact of Berlin Wall on lives of Germans living in both East and West Germany was difficult to measure. But it is clear that it negatively influenced on families which were separated from one night to another. And when they wanted to reunify, it turned out to be impossible and with such existence people could not put up. And they tried to escape.

There are lot of facts about the Berlin Wall which are well known and some will be disclosed to the public.

But one thing is the most important- that the Berlin Wall is the part of Berlin history and the East Side Gallery. And it will never come back.

Facts about the Berlin Wall in figures:

  • Total length of the border 155
  • Inner-city border between East and West Berlin 43 km
  • Border between West Berlin and the GDR (“outer ring”) 112 km
  • Border crossings between East and West Berlin (roads/railway) 8
  • Border crossings between the GDR and West Berlin (roads/railway) 6
  • Observation towers 302
  • Bunkers 20
  • Dog runs 259
  • Anti-vehicle trenches 105,5 km
  • Contact or signal fences 127,5 km
  • Border patrol roads 124,3 km

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