Between August 1961 and August 1962, the Communist regime closes the border between the sectors in Berlin, builds and fortifies the wall in the city and foils escape attempts using lethal forces. A sad balance which continues over the following years.


 June 15th 1961 _____________________________

Ulbricht misleads
the people


Ulbricht, East German Head of Party and State declares before the press in East-Berlin:
Niemand hat die Absicht, eine Mauer zu errichten."

 August 13th 1961 __________________________

Start of


At dawn, armed East German troops begin the sealing off of the eastern sector of Berlin with barbed wired and roadblocks. "To stop the hostile activities of the revanchist and militaristic forces of West Germany," the East German cabinet decides to control the western sector border of Berlin in "a way every sovereign nation regulates its borders. "As long as West Berlin does not change into a neutral, demilitarized city, citizens of East Germany may travel to West Berlin only with a special permit.

The East German Department of Interior closes all but 13 checkpoints between East and West Berlin. East German citizens are prohibited from working in West Berlin.The Public Transportation System (Metro and S-Bahn) between East and West Berlin is interrupted. Friedrichstrasse Station is the only remaining open station. Its station hall is often filled with returning Western visitors saying goodbye to their relatives and loved ones. It becomes known as the "Palace of Tears".

The first escape: On the very first day, a young recruit attempts of flee East Germany.  The scene is captured on film and is seen all over the world.

 August 14+15th 1961 ______________________

Wall Segments


East German border police close the Brandenburg Gate as a symbolic act on August 14, 1961.A day later, East German construction workers, guarded by armed border guards, erect the first segments of the Wall.


 August 23th 1961 __________________________

Harsher Measures
are taken


West Berliners are prohibited from entering East Berlin.

 August 24th 1961 __________________________

First fatal shots


A 24 year old man becomes the first victim of the Wall. Trying to escape, he is shot by border guards in the Humboldt port area. Until February 5th 1989 many people lose their lives trying to cross the Berlin Wall.

 September 12th 1961 ______________________

East German
Border Units


In an attempt to make border crossing even more difficult, East German Border Units are formed as part of the National People's Army. The Border Units are dissolved 29 years later on September 21th 1990.

 October 27th, 1961 _________________________

Stand off


A standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union takes place at Check Point Charlie.  No shots are fired.

 June 18th 1962 _____________________________

Reinhold Huhn


An East German border guard is shot by a West German escape agent. Communist party commemorates him as a hero in the "Fight against the West" and uses the incident as a pretext to further the perfection of the border system. (Death Zone)


 June 19th 1962 ______________________________

Death Zone


East German Border guards and construction workers begin installing a second fence behind the existing Wall.  This death strip - a barren zone 100 yards wide – is a closely controlled no-man's-land between the Walls.


 August 17th 1962 __________________________

Peter Fechter


The East Berliner construction worker, Peter Fechter, is shot and injured by border guards. Not provided with any medical assistance, he bleeds to death in "no-man's-land."  Again, the pictures make the headlines of the world.