Workers restoring watchtower to stretch of Berlin Wall
As the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall approaches, workers at Berlin’s Bernauer Straße memorial are restoring a long-gone watchtower, daily Der Tagesspiegel reported on Tuesday.
No one knows what happened to the original watchtower at the once heavily guarded stretch of the Wall, but last year memorial workers discovered a similar tower at barracks in Spreenhagen, just outside the capital city.
“The tower will be built again according to Berlin memorial standards,” head of the Berliner Mauer foundation Manfred Fischer told the paper, adding that the foundations are being prepared and completion is expected in a few weeks.
The tower is one of six remaining towers out of the 300 once manned by feared East German border guards along Berlin Wall to be used in remembrance, the paper said. Other towers still exist at former border checks.
The Wall ran along Bernauer Straße and was the site of dramatic escape attempts by East Germans – particularly through escape tunnels and jumping from windows. The street is now home to one of the longest surviving stretches of the Wall.
Other surviving towers have been re-purposed, the paper said. A former watchtower between Frohnau and Hohen Neuendorf is now a nature study centre for children. Another tower in Berlin’s Treptow district has been fully restored to its original state and is now used for art installations and performances.
A third tower has been converted into a memorial for Günter Litfin, one of the first victims of gunshots from Berlin Wall guards in 1961 as he tried to escape.