Window of Remembrance

Foto Fenster des Gedenkens

© Stiftung Berliner Mauer

Have you noticed the “Window of Remembrance” yet? This site is dedicated to the people who died at the Berlin Wall. At least 140 people were killed at the Wall or died in connection with the East German border regime between 1961 and 1989. Most of them were refugees who were shot while trying to cross the border fortifications. Others died in an accident or took their own lives. But some people were shot or died in an accident who were not attempting to flee. 

The Window of Remembrance presents photos of the people who died. Their names and birth and death dates are also shown. Each victim is remembered here individually. Relatives often place flowers or stones at the site or light a candle. A photograph could not be found for every victim. And a few niches were intentionally left empty in case more victims are discovered in the future. 

Seven people lost their lives on Bernauer Strasse while trying to get through the border fortifications. They were either shot by border guards or died after jumping from the border houses. All these deaths occurred in the 1960s. Commemorative markers on the memorial grounds recall their fate and tell their story at the site of their escape. 

The victims also include eight East German border soldiers who were on duty when they were killed by deserters, fellow comrades, a refugee, an escape helper or a West Berlin police officer. The photographs and names of these border soldiers are not included in the Window of Remembrance, however.

When the memorial was being created and the design of the Window of Remembrance was being planned, this issue was intensely discussed by the committees of the Berlin Wall Foundation. In the end, they decided not to include the border soldiers in the Window of Remembrance. It was argued that because they were helpers of the dictatorship – albeit often unwillingly as conscripts – they should not be honored alongside the victims of the dictatorship. The names of the eight border soldiers are presented separately on a column near the Window of Remembrance.

Historisches Bild des Gedenkkreuzes für Ida Siekmann

Memorial sign for Ida Siekmann, ca. 1963 © Stiftung Berliner Mauer, Foto: Michael-Reiner Ernst


Portrait of Cengaver Katranci © Peter Rondholz


Porträt Jörgen Schmidtchens © Polizeihistorische Sammlung Berlin