"One Village, Two Countries" Mödlareuth by weed6886

Mödlareuth Travel Guide: 5 reviews and 13 photos

It happened overnight

Imagine waking up one morning and seeing a wall running down the middle of your street, your friends and relatives living on the other side. No chance for goodbyes. For years they live only a few meters away, but you can't see them or hear from them. That is what happened in Mödlareuth. The stream that is only inches wide was the border between the German states of Thüringen and Bavaria. After World War II, Thüringen became part of the communist German Democratic Republic(East Germany), and Bavaria was part of the Federal Republic of Germany(West). For years after the formation of these two countries, the people of Mödlareuth still were allowed to cross the stream. After all, the school and gasthaus were on one side, and the church on the other in the nearby town of Töpen(Bavaria).

No more contact

In 1952, the East German government authorized a 5 km wide "demarcation line" along the border "to protect the GDR from the Capitalists." To "protect" the population, a three meter high fence was built along the border of the entire country. This fence ran directly through this town. To ensure that the citizens of Mödlareuth in Thüringen were protected from this threat, a three meter high concrete wall was erected. There were no gates, only a small door for border guards to use. The citizens of the GDR were even forbidden to wave at people on the other side of the wall. The west side became an attraction for the western world; a village cut in half by the Iron Curtain. Imagine watching nephews and nieces growing up only a few yards away from your house, and you can only see them through binoculars.

Remembering the German Democratic Republic

Now, over 15 years after reunification, lots of people seem to have forgotten how hard life was behind the Iron Curtain. Some have come out and said "It wasn't so bad in the GDR, we were just upset becase we couldn't travel", or "back then, times were okay, everyone had a job." I think everyone who talks about the "good 'ol days in the GDR" should have a look at this town. It is a powerful reminder of how much pain and suffering the Cold War caused.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A must-see for everyone who remembers the 20th century!
  • Cons:It's a ways away from the normal traveller's path
  • In a nutshell:Impressive
  • Last visit to Mödlareuth: Sep 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (5)

Comments (2)

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Feb 16, 2007 at 5:51 AM

    The history here is really fascinating. If I am ever there, I certainly would love to have my passport stamped too. I too appreciated the postcard you sent from here.

  • ChristinaNest's Profile Photo
    Oct 9, 2006 at 1:35 AM

    Interesting page! I didn't know that besides Berlin other places were separated, I would like to visit this town one day. Thank you very much for the postcard and DDR stamp, I really appreciate it!!


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