(Un)limited entry at the border crossing Friedrichstrasse
By moving to West Berlin in 1985, Heinz-Dieter Schumacher obtained a travel authorization and was free to travel to and from the GDR. During his numerous trips to the East, he would mostly cross the border at the Friedrichstrasse station, as he did for the first time. Before doing so, he had been advised by his friends to behave discreetly in order to avoid being arrested in the East. To get to the border checkpoint, he drove to the station and then had to pass the border control. The border crossings were sometimes connected to an intensive screening-process of personal documents. At other times, he would be simply granted passage with a simple waving of the hand of the customs official. The laminated customs-office doors led to the so-called “Palace of Tears,” where Heinz-Dieter Schumacher watched people from the East parting with their loved ones from the West or – on the contrary – impatiently awaiting the arrival of their relatives. After the fall of the Wall, Heinz-Dieter Schumacher’s relatives from the East set out on a journey to the West to visit him at his home. After the arrival of his two cousins, he wanted to pick up his brother at the Friedrichstrasse station on November 1989. However, because the station was completely overcrowded Hans was unable to find his brother among the hoards of people migrating from the East to the West. On his way back from the station, Heinz-Dieter Schumacher – to his great delight – discovered many newly created border crossings and niches. When he came home, his brother had already arrived there and thus the whole family met for the first time together in the West. There were no longer any travel restrictions.