Berlin, Friedrichstraße
Berlin-Friedrichstraße, 10117 Berlin, Germany
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A stranger helps them on the run

Dostupné v: English | Deutsch

Monika Khalaf – ten years old at the time of their flight in 1958 – and her mother fled together from Erfurt via Berlin to the West. Their flight was prompted by two policemen who warned Khalaf's mother. The two escaped with only a single suitcase. At the Erfurt central railway station, they got into an S-Bahn to Berlin, Friedrichstrasse. Arriving at the Friedrichstrasse, they took a tram in the direction of Siemens City, during rush hour. On the tram, they were almost caught and they were greatly afraid because they didn’t have any permission to travel to the West. However, the odds were in their favor -- a stranger helped them to cover and hide their suitcase during the tram ride.

Monika Khalaf

Monika Khalaf

Monika Khalaf, née Georgi, was born on March 16, 1949, in Erfurt. Her family had originally owned an inn but it was forcibly taken away from them. Her father was transferred to the Baltic Sea to work in tourist resorts. From there, he fled to the West. Monika Khalaf and her mother still resided in Erfurt at that time. After her mother had been warned by two policemen, the two women fled to Berlin with the S-Bahn. On the way, for a short moment, it seemed that they’d be given away by a ticket collector. Instead, the man saved them by covering their only suitcase with his jacket. From Berlin, they took the air lift to Nuremberg. Their journey continued via Munich and they finally arrived in Vogelsberg where the family reunited again. Afterwards, Monika Khalaf's life quickly went back to normal again.

Berlin, Friedrichstraße

Dostupné v: English | Deutsch

Back in the days of the Iron Curtain, the S-Bahn station Berlin-Friedrichstraße was the last station in the GDR before the border to West Berlin. It became one of the main crossing points between East and West Berlin. Since 1945, many people from East Germany used this station to flee to the West. However, after the Berlin Wall was erected in August 1961, the station was separated into two parts. Thus, it turned from a transit station into a terminus and a border checkpoint for travelers from both parts of Berlin. The station was separated into two areas that were hermetically sealed off from each other; contact between the two was not possible. It was here where people parted with relatives and friends. Therefore, until 1989, the S-Bahn station was also colloquially called the “Palace of Tears.”

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