History

During the night of August 13, 1961 Berlin finds itself suddenly divided by barbed wire. Two days later, the construction of the Wall commences with concrete bricks and ten foot precast slabs. The dividing line between the Russian and Western occupation sectors becomes an almost insurmountable obstacle.

The first watchtowers are made from wood, offering little or no protection. Soon, they were replaced by the type preserved here, with a round tower shaft and the octagonal observation booth mounted on top. Later, yet another type with a square footprint was introduces for use as section command posts. Two of those are still in existence today.

The observation tower BT6 located at the Erna-Berger-Strasse consists of six round elements and was erected in 1971. The range for bullets fired from the canopy covered a quadrant from the Tiergarten on the left and almost reaching the Brandenburg Gate on the north. Two guards manned this tower around the clock. There was a strict order to shoot in the event of any border violation. Later, this tower was also protecting access to the “House of Ministries”. There were over 200 towers of this type installed along the Berlin border. This BT6 is the last example of its kind.

Since 2001 this tower has been covered by the German monument protection act. But, thereafter, it was more or less forgotten and fell into disrepair.

ddr-grenzwachturm-vor-der-renovierung

GDR Watchtower before renovation