Fortifications of the inner German borderThe development of the inner German border took place in a number of stages between and the mids. The border remained borser easy to cross until it was abruptly closed by the GDR in in response east german border zone the large-scale emigration of East Germans east german border zone the West. Barbed-wire fences and minefields were installed and draconian restrictions were placed zoe East German citizens living near the border. Thousands were expelled from their homes, with several thousand more fleeing to the West. From the late s, the border fortifications were greatly strengthened through the installation of new east german border zone, detectors, watchtowers and booby-traps designed to prevent attempts to escape from East Germany. The improved border defences succeeded in reducing the obrder of unauthorised emigration to a trickle. The inner German border owed its origins to the agreements reached at the Tehran Anadrol 4 week cycle results in November—December
Fortifications of the inner German border - Wikipedia
While the Berlin Wall remains a symbol of German division and the brutal former East German regime, a new project aims to focus attention on the many victims of the equally forbidding East-West German border zone. The construction became the infamous symbol of a divided Germany, but the border between the two countries received less public attention, despite also being heavily guarded from an even earlier point in time.
Politically, Germany had been split since Despite its name, the GDR was a communist dictatorship that severely limited its citizens' political freedom and regularly punished dissidents.
Politically and economically, West Germany was more successful than its neighbor from the start. Many East Germans started crossing over to the other side in the early days of the two countries. The border stretched from the Baltic Sea to the Vogtland region in Saxony and was nearly 1, kilometers long. Anyone who entered this zone risked being arrested or shot. The SED-Staat research group at the Free University of Berlin is currently attempting to estimate the total number of people killed while attempting to cross the inner-German border before it opened in Although such statistics have been available for a long time, they originate from different institutions and have been subject to dispute.
The new research project is financed by the German government and by the governments of the German states the former border ran through. The Central Information Office for Governmental Crime ZERV , which was founded after reunification in , estimated the total number of German-German border casualties after to be - excluding those who attempted escape in and around Berlin or via the Baltic Sea.
That number, however, is regarded as low by estimates made by other groups. According to Germany's minister for culture and media, Bernd Neumann, the project's focus is the people behind the statistics. Research into individuals' stories will give the victims names and faces, thereby restoring their dignity. The research should be finalized by , producing a book of short biographies of the victims. It is based on the research into the victims of the Berlin Wall, which has largely been completed.
The Berlin Wall Memorial includes the "Window of Remembrance" with names and photos of the dead, located in the middle of the former border zone. Three-quarters of this budget were provided by the federal minister for culture and media, and the rest by the states of Saxony-Anhalt, Hesse and Lower Saxony.
Saxony-Anhalt's minister for education, Stephan Dorgerloh, said he would have liked to see all states that were intersected by the border contribute to the project - however, he is glad that 22 years after German reunification the victims of the border zone are commemorated in a similar way to the more publicized victims of the Berlin Wall. Dorgerloh said he believes that while the Berlin Wall still symbolizes the division of Germany, it is now time to shift the spotlight to the inner-German border, which was "hermetically sealed long before the Berlin Wall was built.
In the time preceding the Wall, the residents of Berlin still enjoyed relative freedom of movement, but the inner-German border was already fortified with barbed wire and guard posts. As the years went on, crossing it only became harder. Border guards were ordered to shoot anyone attempting to cross, but those who went unnoticed still risked being killed by the many mines planted within the zone.
Despite all this, the number of attempted escapes remained high. Project head Klaus Schroeder from the Free University of Berlin has found out from the documents of the East German secret police Stasi that between and there were nearly 5, people who attempted to cross the inner-German border.
Of these, successfully made it to the other side. Nearly set off mines or spring-guns. The majority were arrested. According to Schroeder, the files contain no information about the fates of those whose attempts failed. For Schroeder, finding information about the border victims is not only of academic but also of personal importance. He witnessed the fortification of the restricted zone, preventing East German citizens from fleeing via the beach and the Baltic Sea. His first unpleasant experience was finding a human corpse washed ashore, which "we as children simply couldn't comprehend.
But for many people who did not experience the division of Germany - especially the younger generation - the topic is no more than a chapter in a history textbook.
This is why the research project, which is also to be published on the Internet, aims to make the story of the inner German border more accessible and more real - a sensitive account of human tragedy. For the West, the motive was humanitarian, for the East, economic. Over top athletes were among the 3 million East Germans who escaped to the West.
Their loss was deeply painful to the regime, which did everything it could to stop them. Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin is a tourist magnet throughout the year. But some left-wing politicians, backed by the city government, are saying the border crossing depicts only one side of history - the West's. Sewing your own clothes in communist East Germany was a subtle act of resistance against the regime. Those who paid attention to fashion read the magazine Sybille - the Vogue of the East - which became a legend.
Germans who lived in the GDR have been able to view the files kept on them by East Germany's notorious Stasi secret police.
Now, East Germany's last prime minister is demanding to see what the West knew about him. A new exhibition at Bonn's history museum Haus der Geschichte unpacks half a century of founding myths.
Some objects from East and West Germany, as well as from the reunified nation, link pivotal historic moments. Chancellor Angela Merkel is likely to be the only person in her next cabinet who grew up in the former GDR. East Germans are consistently under-represented at the elite level of German political life. Change it here DW. COM has chosen English as your language setting.
COM in 30 languages. Germany Germany's military reluctance rooted in history Business Germans divided over impact of globalization: Counting the victims Politically and economically, West Germany was more successful than its neighbor from the start. The border between East and West Germany was heavily patrolled. Schroeder grew up near the inner German border. East Germany's 'sport traitors' Over top athletes were among the 3 million East Germans who escaped to the West.
Protesting with skirts in East Germany Sewing your own clothes in communist East Germany was a subtle act of resistance against the regime.