Gisela Meyer remembers August 13, 1961 exactly.

Suddenly, border guards laid razor-sharp barbed wire fences in their Berlin district of Lichterfelde-Süd.

From then on, a five-meter-wide death strip separates Teltow, in what was then the GDR district of Potsdam, from West Berlin.

Today, in retrospect, sixty years after the building of the wall and 32 years after the fall of the wall, the Berlin-born woman can hardly imagine that the city became the plaything of the world powers.

Your city.

From one day to the next, the Ostpreussendamm was no longer passable, the arterial road to the surrounding area, the only connection to Teltow.

The GDR border troops had built a concrete wall there, later reinforced by a metal screen.

Kevin Hanschke


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Gisela Meyer was fifteen years old when the scene in front of her house changed so frighteningly.

Her neighborhood and the house in Schwelmer Strasse 2, where she lives, were suddenly surrounded.

It was summer, she had just returned from a vacation in the Black Forest with her mother.

“We didn't have a TV.

In Stuttgart it was said that the conflict over Berlin is heating up.

And now the limit was in our front yard. "

At the time, she was not aware that this day would forever change her life and the lives of millions of people in the East and West.

“We didn't think that we would suddenly find ourselves in the middle of world history.” As a West Berliner, Gisela Meyer was not imprisoned in the following decades as the Germans were in the GDR.

Nevertheless, the wall should shape the life of the nurse.

A mere three meters separated the apartment building, in which her two-and-a-half-room apartment was located and which she has lived her entire life, from the death strip. Thousands of houses in Berlin were affected by the building of the wall. On August 1, 1961, the Soviet head of state and party, Nikita Khrushchev, and the GDR's head of state, Walter Ulbricht, discussed details of the border closure in Moscow. It was also about the buildings that were directly on the wall.

Ulbricht explained how he wanted to deal with the people in the East Berlin buildings right on the border: “We have a certain plan. In the houses that have an exit to West Berlin, we will wall this exit. From August 13, 1961, the floodlights of the border fortifications illuminated the tenement house that had been built on the outskirts of the city in 1930. “You could only sleep with the blinds down,” says Meyer. She tells how houses on the Teltow side were demolished to make the border "safer". And she tells how her Lichterfelde deserted.

She had already noticed in her childhood that the city, torn between two political systems, was drifting apart. In 1950, one year after the two German states were founded, the tram line between Lichterfelde and Teltow was shut down. Neither the East Berlin magistrate nor the West Berlin Senate wanted to pay for the electricity costs. Since 1952, the population of West Berlin was no longer allowed to enter the GDR. Only East Berlin could be entered with the pass. She often drove to Lake Müggelsee with her parents. Little Gisela was not aware that there was a different system on the other side of the then invisible border.