Bernauer Strasse in Berlin is symbolic of the division of Germany. The border line ran along the walls of the houses that stood on the eastern side. Both sides of the street changed radically when the Wall went up. Thirty years after the fall of the Wall, we investigate into a vanished place that brings into focus the history of the Berlin Wall like nowhere else.

By the time the Wall fell on 9 November 1989, after 28 years, 2 months and 27 days, it had shaped and changed Berlin like no other structure in the city. The border strip wound its way around and through the old German capital like a snake, slicing through bridges, roads, families and friendships. An almost insurmountable ring was built around West Berlin, a death strip that was constantly expanded and rebuilt. It was supposed to create a „free field of vision and fire“. The Berlin Wall became symbolic of the division of Germany and the Cold War era; some places directly connected to the Wall repeatedly made headlines. At the end of the war, Bernauer Strasse demarcated the Soviet and French sectors. The border line did not run through the middle of the street but along the walls of the houses that stood on the eastern side. After 13 August 1961, the unremarkable Bernauer Strasse became one of the grim „tourist attractions“ in the divided city, a place where the effects of the division were immediately apparent. Photos of the border policeman’s leap to freedom, residents clambering out of windows, tunnel escapes or the blown-up Reconciliation Church brought the street international fame. We tell its unique story.

Length 45’ HD
Film by Daniel Ast, Jürgen Ast
Co-production astfilm productions with RBB, with the support of the Federal Foundation for the Study of Communist Dictatorship in East Germany
Original Title Bernauer Straße – Eine Straße der Teilung
Completion October 2019