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

Available in: 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

Available in: English | Deutsch

Der S-Bahnhof Berlin-Friedrichstraße war zu Zeiten des Eisernen Vorhangs der letzte Bahnhof in der DDR vor der Grenze nach West-Berlin. Er stellte eine der wichtigsten Übergangsstellen zwischen Ost- und West-Berlin dar. Ab 1945 flüchteten hier noch viele Menschen aus der DDR in den Westen. Die Inbetriebnahme der Mauer ab August 1961 teilte den Bahnhof allerdings in zwei Teile und machte ihn von einem Durchgangsbahnhof zum Kopfbahnhof und zum Grenzübergang für Reisende aus beiden Teilen Berlins. Zwei getrennte Bahnhofsbereiche entstanden – einer für die West- und einer für die Ost-Reisenden, wobei der Kontakt zwischen den beiden Bereichen nicht möglich war. Aufgrund der unzähligen Abschiede, die Menschen hier bis 1989 von ihren Verwandten und Bekannten nehmen mussten, nannte man den S-Bahnhof „Tränenpalast“.

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