Viewing Platform

Foto Aussichtsturm

© Stiftung Berliner Mauer

The viewing platform was added to the Documentation Center building in 2002. The building itself is older: it was built in 1965 as a community center for the Protestant Reconciliation Parish. After the Wall was erected, the congregation’s church and parish hall were situated in the border strip and no longer accessible. Since 1999, the parish has made large parts of the building available to the memorial. The permanent exhibition dedicated to the history of Berlin’s division is presented in the former parish hall.

From the viewing platform you can see a large expanse of the former border strip along Bernauer Strasse. The many layers of the border fortifications are also clearly visible. To the right you see Area A of the memorial grounds with the “Window of Remembrance” dedicated to the 140 victims of the Berlin Wall. You can also see the original relics of both the Berlin Wall and the inner wall.

Blick in den Grenzstreifen vom Gemeindehaus aus

© Versöhnungsgemeinde

The monument that opened in 1998 stands directly across from where you are standing. A section of the original border fortifications has been incorporated into the design. Viewed from the tower, it serves as a 1:1 model of the border system. This is how the border grounds looked in the early 1980s. After making it through the heavily guarded border area behind the border in the East, a refugee would encounter the inner wall facing East Berlin. Beyond it stood a signal fence which set off an alarm in the watchtower when touched. The posts of the signal fence are still standing, but the surface obstacles were removed in 1983. These were mats with steel spikes sticking out of them that were positioned behind the signal fence. An original surface obstacle is on display in the permanent exhibition in the Documentation Center. The security strip was situated beyond the watchtower, the lights and the patrol road. The so-called “Border Wall 75” was the last addition to the fortifications. This 3.6-meter-high version of the Berlin Wall is the image most associated with the Wall today.

To the left of the monument, you’ll see the Chapel of Reconciliation and the excavated ruins of a border house.