"East and West at Arm?s Reach (Niederkirchnerstr.)" Top 5 Page for this destination Berlin-Mitte Tip by Kakapo2

Berlin-Mitte, Berlin: 32 reviews and 47 photos

  Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berliner Abgeordnetenhaus.
by Kakapo2

If you carry on walking from Martin-Gropius-Bau towards Checkpoint Charlie ? Niederkirchner Straße continues as Zimmerstraße ? you must imagine that the people living on the western side of the street breathed eastern air when they only opened their windows. When they stretched out their arms they were on GDR territory.

The border was a virtual line and started at the walls of those houses. The Wall itself was set back by 2.50 metres. However, it was allowed for Westerners to walk on Zimmerstraße ? but it was forbidden to drive. So if those people shifted house they had to carry all their belongings several hundreds of metres. You could see such pictures on TV every now and then.

I also heard and read again that people who refused to pay taxes, or had huge debts, and also criminals were very much attracted to this street because police, bailiffs and other state employees were not allowed to walk on GDR territory, so this was a safe haven for such dark elements of society.

This photo shows in an impressive way how crazy the demarcation line was. Martin-Gropius-Bau (in the foreground) was in the West, and you could only enter via the backdoor, Berlin?s Abgeordnetenhaus (in the background) was on GDR territory.

Directions: At walking distance from Potsdamer Platz and Checkpoint Charlie
U-Bahn U2, stations Potsdamer Platz and Mohrenstraße
S-Bahn S 1, 2 and 25, stations Potsdamer Platz and Anhalter Bahnhof

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Jan 3, 2008
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