|The Story of the
Section 1 Germany and Berlin at the End of WWII
Section 2 In the Beginning Was the Lie
Section 3 The Cruel Border
Section 4 Checkpoint Charlie
Section 5 Breakthrough -- Part One
Section 6 The Wall
Section 8 The Wall between Concrete, Art and the Exchange of Agents
Section 9 The Brandenburg Gate
Section 10 The Final Breakthrough
"On either side of the wall are gods children and no manmade barrier can obliterate that fact".
Martin Luther King, September 13, 1964
Breakthrough - Part Two
The erection of the border severed all contact between the two halves of the city. Neither friends nor acquaintances, not even close relatives, were allowed to visit each other. It was not until three years thereafter, on December 18, 1963, that the West Berlin Senate succeeded in concluding an agreement with the government of the GDR with the consent of the West German government and the western Allies. During the period around Christmas and New Year's, arguably the most important holidays in Germany, the border was opened to West Berliners. Despite lengthy delays, immensely long waiting lines at the border crossing points, and considerable inconvenience caused by East German border officials, more than 700,000 people took the opportunity to obtain a pass. By 1966, three more pass agreements had been concluded. In 1972 a Traffic Treaty was signed, which introduced a number of travel facilities but it covered mainly the population of West Berlin, not that of East Berlin. Formerly the main junction of Berlin's network of streetcar and subway lines, the station on Friedrichstraße in the eastern part of Berlin became the central meeting place for Westerners visiting East Berlin. In the large hall next to the station heart-rending reunions and partings were witnessed, scenes that soon prompted Berliners to refer to the location as the "palace of tears". When on September 9, 1964, the government of the GDR permitted East German citizens of retirement age to travel to the West, Berliners dubbed the place "pensioner's station" because these journeys, too, usually originated at the Friedrichstrasse station.
The population in the western part of the city did not content itself with the official lines of communication. The text broadcast by a rogue radio station in 1965 was called "studio at the barbed wire". To loosen the monopoly that the communist state had on information, the station informed the citizens of East Berlin that the negotiations for a new pass agreement would continue after all.