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This border cuts Germany in two. It separates East and West, Communism and democracy. Its sole purpose: to keep the people of communist East Germany from fleeing to freedom in the Federal Republic of Germany: the West. Berlin has special status: in the middle of East Germany. The city is divided into four sectors at the end of WW II. In 1961, the Western sectors are surrounded by a fortified border 155 kilometers long: the Wall. East Berlin in the early 80's. This street leads to West Berlin. Anyone entering this restricted security zone requires special permits; even visitors of the cemetery seen here on the left. It's been closed off since the Wall was built. This is where the barriers marking the borders begin. Going further means risking life and limb. Behind what is known as the "inner wall" is a place an average East German citizen may never enter: A heavily-guarded strip of borderland. This is what it looks like at the start of the1980s. The fortifications are continually reinforced and expanded. The area along the restricted zone is patrolled not only by soldiers, but also by the East German police and other watchful agents. Preventing people from fleeing communist East Germany is an elaborate and expensive operation. Two soldiers guarded 200 meters stretch of border here. In total, there are 12,000 border troops posted in Berlin. The next obstacle is a signal fence. Touch it, and a silent alarm goes off. Soldiers in the watch towers can immediately see where the alarm has been triggered. The would-be escapee doesn't know it, but the guards are already aware of what is happening and where. The guards in the tower can alert other troops along the border and direct their operations. At night, the no man's land around the border is lit up bright as day. In the West, this area is known as the "Death Strip"; a place where East German border guards will shoot to kill as a last resort to prevent an escape. The Berlin Wall claims 136 lives. The Church of Reconciliation is surrounded by the Death Strip. The Wall separates the church from its parish, most of which lies in the West. In 1985, the East German regime demolishes the church. One possible reason is that it obstructs the guards' view on the border. Tank traps prevent escapees from breaking through, but also the guards. On the other side, a carpet of steel spikes, 14 cms long seriously wounds anyone who steps on it. East German border guards call it "Asparagus Board". Westerners nickname it "Stalin-Rasen" or "Stalin's Lawn". The ground is smoothed regularly, so that anyone trying to flee across it will leave a mark. And finally, the notorious Berlin Wall. 3.60 meters tall; the last insurmountable barrier. The side of the Wall facing West Berlin is still part of East Germany. Openings used by the guards to inspect the other side need two separate keys to unlock. One person alone cannot open them. At strategic intersections, the East German regime leaves weak points. in the reinforced concrete barrier, so its tanks can break through to the West in the event of a war. Nearly everyone in the world is familiar with this view of the Wall... ...looking from the West. Initially, observation platforms are built for West Berlin's police; later, for tourists. This view at Bernauerstrasse shows that the sophisticated containment system in Berlin is far more than "a wall". Berlin is a special case: West Berlin, effectively part of the Federal Republic of Germany, is located in the middle of East Germany. The border separating East and West Germany is 1378 kilometers long and separated the GDR from West Germany.. Hötensleben is an East German village. The people here live in immediate proximity to the border fortifications. But most East Germans never get as far as Hötensleben. Sentries stop anyone without a permit about 5 kilometers away from the border. Right on the frontier, in Hötensleben itself, the residents are confronted constantly with the threat of forced resettlement to places deeper inside East Germany. In the 1950's and 60's, those deemed to have a high potential to flee had already been resettled as a part of what the East German regime called "Operation Vermin" ("Aktion Ungeziefer") Before Germany was divided, this street simply ran a straight course. Now a concrete barrier cuts across it, blocking any view to the West: the first major obstacle of the fortified border. The no man's land here is just 40 meters wide: one of the narrowest points along the frontier between East and West Germany. Just 5 meters behind the wall is a deeply anchored alarm fence. Openings have been left in its foundation for the many rabbits living on no man's land, to prevent them from triggering the alarm. Six soldiers stand guard in the watchtowers around the clock: two are at the top; the other four are posted in quarters below. In some places, guard dogs are added to the patrol of the area. A trip wire serves as a further alarm. When a person runs into it, a yellow flare is triggered. The Death Strip is lit up brightly at night. Live ammunition is fired at anyone trying to flee. Until 1983, land mines along the inner German border are another lethal danger. Past those: another trip wire. When triggered, it fires a red flare, to let the border patrols know precisely how far an escape attempt has progressed. Along the patrol groove for military vehicles, is another area of smooth, bare soil. Any footprint can be seen thoroughly. Tank traps block all vehicles here as well. Concrete barriers are only put up in areas believed to be especially vulnerable. Most places along the inner German border are marked by a fence, 3 meters tall. There are gates where the fence meets the wall. The first few meters at the other side of the barriers are part of East Germany. Only the most reliable soldiers patrol there. Just a hundred meters away, automatic firing devices shoot at anyone who hits the trip wire. Some 60,000 of these devices are in use until 1983. Hundreds of people are killed trying to flee East Germany. The communist regime has made prisoners of its people: they are WALLED IN.

Video Details

Duration: 10 minutes and 39 seconds
Country: Germany
Language: German
Producer: Deutsche Welle
Director: Deutsche Welle
Views: 3,048
Posted by: eltondepaula on May 2, 2011

Uploaded by deutschewelle on Jun 30, 2009


28 Jahre lang hinderte eine fast unüberwindbare Grenze die Menschen daran, aus der DDR zu fliehen. Doch dann fiel am 9. November 1989 in einer dramatischen Nacht die Mauer, die Deutschland teilte. Heute ist es nur schwer vorstellbar, was noch vor wenigen Jahrzehnten bittere Realität war.

Diese Computeranimation zeigt erstmalig die ausgedehnten Sicherungssysteme der innerdeutschen Grenze und der Berliner Mauer. Dafür wurde die Mauer bis ins Detail virtuell nachgebaut.

Die Animation ist Teil der DVD "Eingemauert! - Wie die innerdeutsche Grenze wirklich war", die im DW-Store erworben werden kann

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