Berlin Wall Memorial
Between 2008 and 2014, the Berlin Wall Memorial was built on Bernauer Strasse in Berlin-Mitte as a central place of remembrance for the victims of the Berlin Wall.
Between 2008 and 2014, the Berlin Wall Memorial was built on Bernauer Strasse in Berlin-Mitte as a central place of remembrance for the victims of the Berlin Wall. The 1.4 km long and 4.4 hectare large border strip was redesigned into a new type of memorial landscape according to a design by the Berlin offices sinai, ON architektur and Mola+Winkelmüller Architekten and completed in November 2014. The central element is the "Window of Remembrance" completed in 2010 on the former Sophien Cemetery – a dignified memorial for the victims of the Berlin Wall.
The central memorial site of the Federal Republic of Germany and the State of Berlin had already been located on Bernauer Strasse since 1998, created in "remembrance of the division of the city from 13 August 1961 to 9 November 1989 and to commemorate the victims of communist tyranny", according to the official dedication. The memorial was complemented by the Berlin Wall Documentation Centre and the Chapel of Reconciliation. For years, these three facilities have experienced a steady increase in visitor numbers as a result of growing public and tourist interest in the Berlin Wall.
Starting in 2008, the Berlin Wall Memorial was expanded in terms of area and significantly upgraded in terms of quality on the former border strip on Bernauer Strasse in accordance with the "Overall Concept for the Remembrance of the Berlin Wall" adopted by the Berlin senate in 2006. The construction project included a visitor centre, open-air facilities and an open-air exhibition in the section from Gartenstrasse to Ackerstrasse. This also included the reconstruction of a watchtower at the original site on Ackerstraße. In 2011, Grün Berlin took over the project management. Grün Berlin maintains the open spaces for the Stiftung Berliner Mauer, which operates the facility.
The memorial site is a stop on the Wall Trail city route not far from Mauerpark and extends on both sides of Bernauer Strasse. On the border strip originally located in East Berlin, the outdoor exhibition on the history of the division of Berlin is exemplified by Bernauer Strasse. The memorial to the divided city and the victims of communist tyranny as well as the "Window of Remembrance" are integral parts of the site. In addition to the Chapel of Reconciliation, the site also contains the excavated foundations of a former residential building whose façade formed the border wall until the early 1980s.
The design concept of the memorial, developed by the Berlin planning office sinai, picks up on original relics of the border installations, which were preserved in accordance with the preservation order, and retraces disappeared traces with Corten steel. This applies to the course of the Wall as well as to the escape tunnels and the demolished border houses. Archaeological windows point to older layers of the border fortifications and remains of houses and streets. The reddish steel bars marking the course of the Wall are striking. Depending on the angle of view, they sometimes appear permeable, sometimes closed. At various points in the grounds, information can be accessed via QR codes. On the opposite side of the street, which belonged to the western part of the city, are the visitor centre by Mola+Winkelmüller Architekten (completion: 2009) and the documentation centre, newly opened in 2014, with an observation tower. The Nordbahnhof S-Bahn station is home to the "Border Stations and Ghost Stations in Divided Berlin" permanent exhibition. It documents the effects of the construction of the Wall on the city's transport network.