Eastgerman idcard and passport!

My former Eastgerman idcard after getting 

The Eastgerman Idendity Cards were valid for travel to countries as well as Czech Republic. For other countries as well as Hungary, Poland, Rumania, Bulgary and Russia you had to apply for a visa before travelling.

If someone wanted to travel to Westgermany, Westeurope or some where else, he or her had to apply for a passport and a visa. But there were really strict rules of the Eastgerman law. Usually you were allow to travel without restrictions if you were a pensioner. Pensioners were Eastgermans they had passed the 65th birthday.

The other way you had to have relatives. The relatives had to send an invitation to their birthday. You had to show the invitation to the authorities and could apply passport and visa. One day before trip you could get the papers at the police station.

Eastgerman passport

visa - permission to cross the border 
                to westgermany

When the wall fell down, every Eastgerman citizien were able to get such a visa by the police station. The authorities made such a visa in the passport in 1990.
The visa was the permission to cross the border to Westgermany and Westberlin. The visa was valid for a half year. On the picture can you see stamps of the border crossing point Brandenburger Tor, Bahnhof Friedrichstrasse and Friedrich corner Zimmerstrasse (the former Checkpoint Charlie).

Wall of Berlin

Wall of Berlin near Potsdamer Platz. In the background you can see the tv tover where the Eastgerman broadcasting was transmitted from. The high building on the left side might be the charité (university hospital).

Another part of the wall in Berlin

Another picture of the wall in Berlin.

The System of the wall

The wall between East and Westgermany as well in Berlin divided Germany for about 28 years. Every traffic and coming in contact to eachother were blocked or got very difficult. The west border of Eastgermany had had a five kilometer wide security area under the control of the army. When you had passed it you came to the wall and you could see behind a lot of border towers. It was almost impossible to pass it.

Some people tried, but most of them were arrested or shot to death. Just in Berlin the border security area was thinner, but that didn´t make it less dangerous to pass the border to Westberlin, how you can see on the pictures. Once in a while they fixed tools to the fences called Selbstschussanlage. If someone touched a wire there the tool exploded to pieces and hurted the person really heavilly. Keep running was impossible after that and the person could pray to god when he or she survived and the government of Westgermany payed money to the east and they got released then.

860.000 mines were layed on the ground and 60.000 tools (Selbstschussanlagen) were installed to the fences and exploded if anyone touched the fences. The border was watched by 50.000 soldiers.
Not everybody it was allow to watch the border. The Eastgerman security or plain police did check them before the service. Also some people living near the border were payed for keeping the eyes open by the security police.

If anyone wanted to escape you had to pass the five kilometers security border area (exept Berlin). There you had to make sure, not to be seen by the local people they had to report to the security police or border officers. When you had pass the area happilly you had to climb about more fences, come along the fences with the exploding tools and to pass the mine fields.

After that you had to cross a plain area - no spot to hide and at least to climb over the wall, but usually the wall was higher than three meters and the top of wall was round. Where could you pull up???

All the time you could be seen from the watchtowers by the soldiers and they were able to shoot. Behind the wall you still was on Eastgerman area. What a lot of people didn´t realize the wall was built some hundred meters far away from the
real border and so it was border officers allowed to catch you behind the wall as long as you hadn´t had passed the "Demarkationslinie" (real border line). The line was marked with border stones. Once in a while Westgermans came to the wall to touch the concret and taking pictures, but most of time the soldiers ignored the cases and let them go again. The wall got to a strange sight seeing and was visited by the tourists.

Part of the Eastgerman Wall called Antifaschistischer 
                Schutzwall by the Eastgerman officials

Here a photo taken from the bird´s eye. It is a part of the wall around Berlin. Some people did have the yard in the triangle area on the bank of lake. Eastgerman officials allowed them to use the track or path inbetween the border area to reach the yard. They had to ring the bell and the door was made open and so they had entrance to a part of the wall. Sure there were more curiosities in that time.

View on the Brandenburger Tor

A picture of the Brandenburger Tor (gate) situated on the Pariser Platz (square). The picture sure was taken after the November 9th, 1989, when the Germans "conquered" the top of the wall. By the way the wall was called "Antifaschistischer Schutzwall" by the Eastgerman officials.

The picture below was taken before the wall came down. The hut in the middle of the street was the checkpoint of the allies and in the background you can see the check point on the Eastgerman site. The museum at the Check Point Charlie is in the building on the right side.

Check Point Charlie at the Kochstraße 

Another picture along the Friedrichstrasse corner Kochstrasse northward to the former Check Point Charlie and Eastberlin in the background. It was curious under the Friedrichstrasse was the Westberlin subway and connected the quarters Kreuzberg (south) and Wedding (north). Both quarters belong to Westberlin, but the subway crossed the city centre of Eastberlin. There were some stations Jannowitzbrücke and Alexander Platz. It was not allow to stop the train there. All stations of Eastberlin were closed and Eastgerman soldiers had an eye on the subway of Westberlin.

  Another picture northward along the Kochstraße 
                to the Check Point Charlie and Eastberlin

Another spot that could be visited by the tourists and people of Westberlin without permission of the Eastgerman officials was the train station Bahnhof Friedrichstrasse. One S-Bahn and two subway lines coming from Westberlin connected the station within Eastberlin. It was the transit between East and West and the opportunity to change for trains. If you wanted to leave the station, you had to have passport and visa.

  Man dancing on the white border line 
                (Demarkationslinie). I do not know, why...
Man dancing on the white border line between East and West. I do not know, why. That happened before the wall came down. Once in a while if people had a problem with the police they just need to stay at the wall. The wall was located within the Eastgerman area and the space between wall and the white line belonged to Eastgermany too, so it wasn´t allow to enter that area for police officers of Westberlin if they wanted to arrest someone...

Infamous was the border crossing point Friedrich / Zimmerstraße. More well-known under the name "Check Point Charlie". In the time of cold war when the danger of the war increased to the top American tanks and Russian tanks standing face to face in front of the white border line.

American and Russian tanks face to face on 
                the Check Point Charlie...

The pictures went around the world. Everybody stopped breathing, when American and Russian tanks were standing face to face. Would that be the start of the third world war?

By the way, the name Check Point Charlie comes from the American alphabet. Check Point Alfa was located at Helmstedt - border crossing point between West and Eastgermany, Check Point Bravo was located at Dreilinden - border between Westberlin and Eastgerman and Check Point Charlie located in the middle of the city Berlin. It only was allowed for aliens, diplomats as well as members of the American, British and French army to pass the border there.

Picture of the Check Point Charlie. Taken in the 
                earlie nineties. View from East to Westberlin, Kochstraße

The last picture of Check Point Charlie was taken in the early nineties when the wall was about coming down. In the foreground you can see the Eastgerman car trabant. Not far away from the former border crossing point the city Berlin offers an interesting museum called Haus am Check Point Charlie. It is an exhibition about the wall and the cold war. There you can see pictures items and old cars. Some of the car were prepared for escaping from Eastgermany and you can read a lot of story about succesful getaway from east to west.

Fortunatly the time of the cold war is gone and no border divided Germany to two parts anymore. Hopeful the future will be more peaceful, but I think we all have work very hard for this goal...

Adress of museum: Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie
Friedrichstrasse 43/45
10969 Berlin (Kreuzberg)
tel. (001149) 030 25 37 25 0
fax. (001149) 030 251 20 75

Business hours: dayly 9 a.m. through 10 p.m.

Zonengrenz-Museum Helmstedt
Südertor 6
38350 Helmstedt
tel. (001149) 05351 121 11 33
fax. (001149) 05351 121 16 00

Business hours:
Tuesday 3 p.m. through 5 p.m.
Wednesday 10 a.m. through 12 a.m, 3 p.m. through 5 p.m.
Thursday 3 p.m. through 6:30 p.m.
Friday 3 p.m. through 5 p.m.
Saturday / Sunday 10 a.m. through 5 p.m.

History museum: Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland:
Willy-Brandt-Allee 14, 53113 Bonn
Tel. 0228 91650 Fax. 0228 9165302

Business hours:
Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. through 7 p.m.

  Sources the pictures of the wall: http://www.dieberlinermauer.de/index.html

Updated on 29.01.05

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