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The memorial at Kieler Eck is a former command post of the GDR border troops at the Berlin-Spandau Schifffahrtskanal (located in today‘s district Berlin Mitte). After the Wall fell, it was established as a memorial to one of the first victims of the Wall: Günter Litfin. It is both a document of the border regime and a testament to its victims.

The former command tower in Kieler Straße, 1990
The former command tower in Kieler Straße after the fall of the Berlin Wall, 1990. Photo: Christian Halbrock

Command station at Kieler Ufer

In the end, there were 280 watchtowers occupied by border soldiers along the Berlin Wall. Thirty-two towers served as command posts where officers or sergeants commanded the soldiers stationed on watchtowers and patrolling the border section. The commander was responsible for ensuring that no successful escapes occurred in his section. He stayed in direct contact with his supervisors, watchtower crews and the East German police. All information was directed to the command post, where an emergency unit was maintained that could be employed against fugitives.

On August 24, 1961, Günter Litfin tried to escape to West Berlin not far from the command post at Kieler Ufer and was shot dead.

The Berlin Wall

Further information on the history of the Berlin Wall and the functioning of the GDR border regime can be found on the website of the Berlin Wall Memorial.

Berlin Wall Memorial
Günter Litfin
Günter Litfin, Photo: Private property Jürgen Litfin
Memorial stone for Günter Litfin
Memorial stone for Günter Litfin at Berlin Central Station. Photo: Berlin Wall Foundation

Günter Litfin

Günter Litfin was the first fugitive to be shot and killed at the Berlin Wall. Litfin was born on January 19, 1937. He had grown up in East Berlin, but worked in West Berlin until the Wall was built on August 13, 1961. Skeptical of the political system in the GDR and cut off from his job in the West after the border was closed, he began looking for a way to flee. On August 24, 1961, he attempted to swim across the Humboldt Harbor (near today’s main train station) to West Berlin. The East Berlin transport police fired warning shots before opening fire. He was killed by a bullet to the back of his head.

A memorial stone on the Sandkrug Bridge in West Berlin was dedicated to Günter Litfin in 1962. In 2015 , the stone was officially moved to the actual site of his death.

Fatalities at the Berlin Wall

Further information about Günter Litfin and other victims of the Berlin Wall can be found on the website of the Berlin Wall Memorial.

Berlin Wall Memorial
The Günter Litfin Memorial
The former command tower in Kieler Straße 2018. Photo: Berlin Wall Foundation
Handing over the memorial to the Berlin Wall Foundation, 2017
Jürgen Litfin (r) handing over the memorial to the Berlin Wall Foundation, 2017. Photo: Berlin Wall Foundation

The Memorial

Günter’s brother, Jürgen Litfin (1940-2018), at first tried to adjust to conditions in the GDR. After his request to emigrate was rejected, he was arrested for allegedly assisting in an escape. The West German government paid for his release from prison and he moved to West Berlin with his family in 1981. But the memory of his brother would not let him go.

After the Wall fell, Jürgen Litfin lobbied to have the former command station preserved. Thanks to his civic commitment, the watchtower was left standing amidst new housing construction. On August 24, 2003, he opened a memorial site dedicated to the Berlin Wall and its first fatally shot victim. He founded an association that maintained the site until 2017 when it was entrusted to the Berlin Wall Foundation.

The memorial is open on weekends from May to September: Saturday and Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm. Public guided tours (in German) will be offered regularly.

Berlin Wall Foundation

The Günter Litfin Memorial is part of the Berlin Wall Foundation. The purpose of the foundation is to document and convey the history of the Berlin Wall and the mass migration from the German Democratic Republic as a part and contributory factor of the German division and the East–West conflict in the 20th century. It also aims to preserve historical sites and authentic remains and to provide for a worthy commemoration of the victims of communist tyranny.

Berlin Wall Foundation

Opening Hours

May – September

Saturday and Sunday
11 am – 5 pm

Free admission

Download

DE | EN
Günter Litfin Memorial
(Flyer, pdf)

FR | ES
Mémorial / Sitio Conmemorativo Günter Litfin
(Flyer, pdf)

The Günter Litfin Memorial, detail

Public Transport

Address

Günter Litfin Memorial
Kieler Straße 2
10155 Berlin

U6 | Schwartzkopffstraße
Bus 120 | Bundeswehrkrankenhaus
Bus TXL, 120, 142, 147, 245 | Invalidenpark
Tram M5, M8, M10 | Invalidenpark

Guided Tours

Public Guided Tours (in German)

April – October 2018
Saturday at 3 pm
5 € / reduced rate 3 € per person
students free of charge
Advance telephone registration until Friday before the respective date is required.

Group Tours (in German)

can be booked by telephone

Contact and booking

+49 (0)30 / 467 9866-23
info@stiftung-berliner-mauer.de

Please note

The tower is not barrier-free accessible.
Please note that for safety reasons max. 15 people may enter the tower at the same time. Sturdy footwear is essential. Visitors should be free from giddiness (steep stairs!).

© Berlin Wall Foundation 2018