Berlin, Sonnenalle/Baumschulenstraße
Baumschulenstraße 65, 12437 Berlin, Deutschland
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The expansion of the Berlin Wall

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In August 1961, the young Lutz Porombka was able to witness first-hand the expansion of the Berlin Wall, as his parents' flat was located in the immediate neighborhood of the border checkpoint Sonnenallee. In fact, it was so close that Lutz once saw a soldier staring inside his room through the window from a tank. The barbed wire that had been initially placed at the border was subsequently replaced with a proper wall which was gradually further expanded. There were dogs and soldiers everywhere along the wall. The wall separated Lutz from his favorite places like playgrounds where he used to go. On the way to school, Lutz walked through an enclave to West Berlin. “If you had a paraglider, you could have jumped out of the school-building window and fly over to West Berlin,” he recalled. The pupils had a great view of the Wall from the windows and thus it comes as no surprise that they twice had the chance to watch an escape attempt across the Wall to West Berlin. These extreme experiences made the young students question the prevailing regime in East Germany for the first time in their lives.

Lutz Porombka

Lutz Porombka

Lutz Porombka was born on October 24, 1955, in Berlin and spent his entire childhood until his graduation from high school in East Berlin with his parents who were very close to the Communist party of East Germany. During this period, he witnessed first the construction and then the expansion of the Berlin Wall first-hand because he lived together with his parents in an apartment that was located right at the Wall near the Sonnenallee Avenue. Porombka completed his very straightforward education and studies and earned a degree in engineering from the university in Dresden. However, the young Porombka spouses then returned to East Berlin where their two children were born. Despite the fact that they lived right adjacent to the border in East Berlin, they didn’t see too much of the revolutionary events surrounding the collapse of the Berlin Wall. In 1991, they moved to Bingen am Rhein for professional reasons. They still live in Bingen today.

Berlin, Sonnenalle/Baumschulenstraße

Available in: English | Deutsch

Die Sonnenallee entstand im 19. Jahrhundert in Berlin, unterteilt in die Bezirke Neukölln und Treptow-Köpenick (Ortsteil Baumschulenweg). Der Bau der Berliner Mauer führte zu einer Abtrennung des südwestlichen Endes im August 1961. An der Sonnenallee wurde ein Grenzübergang für die Ost- und Westbürger errichtet. Dank des des Passierscheinabkommens zwischen Ost- und West-Berlin konnten an dem Grenzübergang Personen aus dem Westen ihre Verwandten in Ost-Berlin besuchen. Diese Grenze konnte aber auch illegal benutzt werden, was das tragische Schicksal des letzten Mauertoten, dem Flüchtling Chris Gueffroy, im Frühjahr 1989 zeigt, da es diesem nicht gelang in den Westteil der Stadt zu kommen und von DDR-Grenzsoldaten erschossen wurde.

Berlin, Sonnenalle/Baumschulenstraße

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The expansion of the Berlin Wall

The expansion of the Berlin Wall

Lutz Porombka
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