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West Berlin was the name given to the western part of Berlinmarker between 1949 and 1990. It consisted of the American, British, and French occupation sectors established in 1945. It was in many ways integrated with, although legally not a part of, West Germanymarker. The Sovietmarker sector became East Berlin, which East Germanymarker claimed as its capital; however, the Western Allies did not recognise this claim, as they asserted that the whole city was legally under four-power occupation. The building of the Berlin Wallmarker in 1961 sealed the border to West Berlin, which since the end of the Second World War had been surrounded by communist East Berlin and East Germany.

With around 2 million inhabitants, West Berlin was the most populated city of Cold War-era Germany, although it did not officially belong to either of the two German states.


West Berlin, as of 1978.
The Potsdam Agreement established the legal framework for the occupation of Germany in the wake of World War II. According to the agreement, Germany would be formally under the sovereignty of the four major wartime Allies — the United Statesmarker, the United Kingdommarker, Francemarker, and the Soviet Unionmarker — until a German government acceptable to them all could be reconstituted. Germany, taken in its borders of 1937, would be reduced by most of what used to be considered Eastern Germany (afterwards called the former eastern territories of Germany) and the remaining territory would be divided into four zones, each administered by one of the allies. Berlin, though surrounded by the Soviet zone of occupation - established in most of Middle Germanymarker -, would be similarly divided, with the western allies occupying an enclave consisting of the western parts of the city. According to the agreement, the occupation of Berlin would end only as a result of a quadripartite agreement. (This clause did not apply to Germany as a whole.) The Western allies were guaranteed three air corridors to their sectors of Berlin, and the Soviets also informally allowed road and rail access between West Berlin and the western parts of Germany (for more details see below the section on traffic).

At first, this arrangement was officially a temporary administrative expedient, and all parties declared that Germany and Berlin would soon be reunited. However, as the relations between the western allies and the Soviet Union soured and the Cold War began, the joint administration of Germany and Berlin broke down. Soon Soviet-occupied Berlin and western-occupied Berlin had entirely separate city administrations. In 1948, the Soviets tried to force the issue and expel the western allies from Berlin by imposing a land blockade on the western sectors (Berlin Blockade). The west responded by using its guaranteed air corridors to resupply their part of the city in what became known as the Berlin Airlift. In May 1949, the Soviets lifted their blockade, and the future of West Berlin as a separate jurisdiction was ensured. By the end of that year, two new states had been created out of occupied Germany — the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germanymarker) in the West and the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germanymarker) in the East — with West Berlin an enclave surrounded by, but not part of, the latter.

Legal status

According to the legal theory followed by the Western Allies, the occupation of most of Germany ended in 1949 with the declaration of the Federal Republic of Germany (23 May 1949) and the German Democratic Republic (7 October 1949). However, because the occupation of Berlin could only be ended by a quadripartite agreement, Berlin remained an occupied territory under the formal sovereignty of the allies. Hence, the Grundgesetz (constitution of the Federal Republic) had no application in West Berlin. Also West German federal law as such did not apply to West Berlin, but the House of Representatives of Berlinmarker ( ; the West Berlin legislature, reunited Berlin's legislature bears the same name) used to vote in every new federal law, periodically collected to bundles of several new laws, without debate to maintain legal equality with the pre-1990 Federal Republic of Germany.

The Western Allies remained the ultimate political authorities in West Berlin. All legislation of the "Abgeordnetenhaus", the domestic state and the adopted federal law, only applied under the proviso of the confirmation by the three Western Allied commanders-in-chief. If they approved a bill, it was enacted as part of West Berlin's statutory law. If the commanders-in-chief rejected a bill, as was the case with West German laws on military duty, the respective law was not valid in West Berlin. West Berlin was run by the elected Governing Mayor and the Senate of Berlin (city government) seated at Rathaus Schönebergmarker. Governing Mayor and Senators (ministers) were to be approved by the Western Allies and thus derived their authority from the occupying forces, not from their electoral mandate.

The Soviets unilaterally declared the occupation of East Berlin at an end along with the rest of East Germany, but this move was not recognised by the Western Allies, who continued to view all of Berlin as a jointly occupied territory belonging to neither of the two states. This view was supported by the continued practise of patrols of Allied soldiers of all four Allies in all four sectors. Thus one could occasionally see Western Allied soldiers on patrol in East Berlin and Soviet soldiers patrolling in West Berlin. After the wall was built, the western Allies regarded the East German intention to control Western Allied patrols when entering or leaving East Berlin, an unacceptable overbearance. So after protests at the Soviets the patrols continued in both directions uncontrolled, with the tacit agreement that the western Allies would not use their patrols for helping Easterners to flee to the West.

However, in many ways, West Berlin functioned as the de facto 11th state of West Germanymarker, and was portrayed on maps published in the West as being a part of West Germany. There was freedom of movement (to the extent allowed by geography) between West Berlin and West Germany. There were no separate immigration regulations for West Berlin: all immigration rules for West Germany were followed in West Berlin. West German entry visas issued to visitors were stamped with "valid for entry into the Federal Republic of Germany including Berlin (West)", authorising entry to West Berlin as well as West Germany itself.

The ambiguous legal status of West Berlin meant that West Berliners were not eligible to vote in federal elections; instead, they were indirectly represented in the Bundestagmarker by 20 non-voting delegates chosen by the West Berlin House of Representatives. Similarly, the West Berlin Senate sent non-voting delegates to the Bundesratmarker. However as German citizens, West Berliners were able to stand for election; including Social Democrat Chancellor Willy Brandt, who was elected by means of his party's list of candidates. Also, men there were exempt from the Federal Republic's compulsory military service; this exemption made the city a popular home for West German youths, which resulted in a flourishing counterculture that became one of the defining features of the city.

Communist countries however did not recognise West Berlin as part of West Germany and usually portrayed it - in articles and maps - as a "third" German jurisdiction - called besondere politische Einheit ( ). On maps of East Berlin West Berlin often did not appear as an adjacent urban area but as a monochrome terra incognita, sometimes showing the letters WB, meaning West Berlin, but usually skilfully overlaid by the cartographers with the legend or pictures.


While East Germany established by way of its second constitution a separate East German nationality in 1967, a distinct West German nationality did not exist. Instead West Germany assumed the pre-WW2 all-German nationality to continue for all ethnic or naturalised Germans in West Germany, East Germany or any part of Berlin. So while West Berlin was not unanimously regarded as part of the Federal Republic, its citizens were treated equal to West German citizens by West German authorities nonetheless, save for the above limitations imposed by its legal status.

This meant that West Berliners could circumvent part of these limitations if they had a second home in West Germany proper. For example, they could vote in Bundestag elections and they could be conscripted into West German military service if they did so.

Naming conventions

Colloquially Westerners called the Western sectors simply Berlin, almost always if distinction was not necessary. Officially, West Berlin was called "Berlin (West)" by the West German Federal government, and, for most of the period of its existence, "Westberlin" by the East German government, which suggested that West Berlin wasn't really part of "Berlin" as a whole; the latter began to use "Berlin (West)" in the late 1980s. Starting from 31 May 1961 East Berlin was officially called Berlin, Capital of the GDR ( , replacing the formerly used term Democratic Berlin), or simply "Berlin," by East Germany, and "Berlin (Ost)" by the West German Federal government, "Ost-Berlin", "Ostberlin" or "Ostsektor" by West German media.

These usages were so ingrained that one could deduce a source's political leaning from the name used for Berlin or its parts. East Germany, during its existence, considered East Berlin as an integral part of its territory, as well as the capital of the state. West Berlin, not formally part of either East or West Germany, technically remained a military occupation zone until October 3, 1990, the day of unification of East Germany, East and West Berlin with the West German Federal Republic of Germanymarker. The West German Federal Government, as well as the governments of most western nations, considered East Berlin to be a "separate entity" from East Germany.

After the Wall had been built

On June 26, 1963, U.S. President John F. Kennedy visited West Berlin and gave a public speech known for its famous phrase "Ich bin ein Berliner."

The Four Power Agreement on Berlin (September 1971) and the Transit Agreement (May 1972), helped to slightly ease the tensions over West Berlin and at a practical level made it easier, though with nightmarish restrictions, for West Berliners to travel to East Germany and simplified the bureaucracy for Germans travelling along the autobahn transit routes.

At the Brandenburg Gatemarker in 1987, U.S. President Ronald Reagan provided a challenge to the then-Soviet premier: "General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."

On November 9, 1989 the wall was opened, and the two cities were once again physically — though still not legally — united. The so-called Two Plus Four Treaty, signed by the two German states and the four wartime allies, paved the way for German reunification and an end to the western occupation of West Berlin. On October 3, 1990 West Berlin and East Berlin were united as the city of Berlin, which then acceded to the Federal Republic as a state, along with the rest of East Germany. West Berlin and East Berlin thus both formally ceased to exist.

Traffic and communication

West Berliners could travel to West Germany and all Western and non-aligned states at all times, except of the period of the Berlin Blockade by the Soviet Union (24 June 1948 to 12 May 1949), due to restrictions of passenger flight capacity.

However travelling from and to West Berlin, with the exception of air travel, would always involve passing through GDR controls, due to West Berlin's being an enclave surrounded by either East Germany or East Berlin. West Berliners bearing West German passports, which the Federal Republic of Germany issued if demanded, showing West Berlin as their place of residence, were refused to cross any border under East German control and were denied entrance by any country of the Eastern Bloc. According to them West Germany was not entitled to issue legal papers for West Berliners. However West Berliners travelling with West German passports giving a more or less veracious secondary address in West Germany as their actual residence were treated like West Germans by the East German border controllers.

Since West Berlin itself was not a sovereign state, it did not issue passports of its own. So the modus vivendi found, was that West Berliners could travel, each using his auxiliary identity card ( ), issued by the city state of Berlin (West), showing his address in Berlin, and not showing any West German federal symbols and not mentioning to which country the card-bearer actually belonged. From 11 June 1968 East Germany compelled West Berlin and West German transit passengers to get a transit visa ( ), issued at entering East Germany, since by its second constitution East Germany considered West Germans and West Berliners as foreigners. Since identity cards had no pages to stamp visas, the Eastern visa departments stamped their visas onto separate leaflets then loosely stuck into the identity cards, which until the mid-1980s were still little booklets. The new concomitant fee of West German Deutsche Mark (DM) 5, levied by East Germany from the transit passengers was regarded in the West as an injust charge and therefore reimbursed to them on demand by the West German Federal Government.

Once having passed East Germany, heading for a non-aligned or Western country demanding a visa, like the USAmarker, West Berliners would again need a West German passport - accepted showing whichever residence -, because a mere identity card did not suffice. However, for countries which did not demand from West Berliners (and West Germans) stamped visas to enter (like the Federal Republic of Germanymarker, Switzerlandmarker, Austriamarker, and many members of the then European Economic Community, following agreements preceding today's Schengen Agreement), West Berlin identity cards were also valid for entry. Once and again East Germany selectively banned travellers on their way through East Germany. From 13 April 1968 ministers and leading officials of the West German Federal Government were denied passage - until further notice. In January 1970 East Germany interrupted transit traffic several times, because parliamentary committees of the West German Bundestagmarker met for sessions in West Berlin, which - according to the East German authorities - they were not allowed to do, since West Berlin was not a part of West Germany.

Traffic with West Berlin by car through East Germany

When travelling between West Berlin and the rest of the world through East Germany the border controllers demanded every passenger from all over the world to bear a valid passport, except West Berliners, whose identity cards were accepted instead. If one travelled between West Berlin and Denmarkmarker, West Germany or Swedenmarker, East German border controllers issued a transit visa for a fee of 5 Western Deutsche Mark on entering East Germany at one of the border compulsory checkpoints at the start of each established transit route ( ). In 1968 visas also became obligatory for West Germans and West Berliners. Travelling between West Berlin and Poland or Czechoslovakiamarker through East Germany, each passenger was further required to present a valid visa for the destination country, to obtain the necessary East German transit visa.

For road traffic there were transit routes connecting West Berlin, usually autobahns and other highways, indicated by Transit signs. Transit travellers ( ) were prohibited to leave the transit routes, occasional controls would check for deviators. There were four transit routes between West Berlin and West Germany. One between West Berlin's Heerstraße with the East German checkpoint in Dallgowmarker until 1951, thereafter in Staakenmarker reaching Northern Germany originally via highway F 5 at the Eastern checkpoint in Horst (a part of today's Nostorfmarker) and the Western Lauenburg upon Elbemarker, gradually replaced until November 20, 1982 by a new autobahn crossing at Zarrentinmarker (E)/Gudowmarker (W). On 1 January 1988 the new Stolpe checkpoint opened on this route to West Berlin. This is part of today's Hohen Neuendorfmarker (E)/Berlin-Heiligenseemarker (W).

The second route led to Northwestern and Western Germany - following today's A 2 - crossing the inner German border at Marienbornmarker (E)/Helmstedtmarker (W), also called Checkpoint Alpha, the third to Southwestern Germany using today's A 9marker and A 4 and crossing at Wartha (E)/Herleshausenmarker (W) and the fourth (today's A 9) to Southern Germanymarker crossed originally at Mount Juchhöh (E)/Töpenmarker (W) and later at Hirschberg upon Saalemarker (E)/ Rudolphstein (a part of today's Berg in Upper Franconiamarker) (W).

The latter three routes used autobahns built in the Nazi era and left West Berlin at Checkpoint Dreilinden, also called Checkpoint Bravo (W)/Potsdammarker-Drewitz (E). Then there were transit routes to Poland northeastwards via today's A 11 to Nadrenseemarker-Pomellen (East Germany, GDR)/Kołbaskowo marker (PL), eastwards via today's A 12 to Frankfurt upon Odermarker (GDR)/Słubicemarker (PL), and southeastwards via today's A 13 and A 15 to Forst in Lusatia/Baršćmarker (GDR)/Zasieki marker (PL). Further routes led to Denmark and Sweden by ferry between Rostock (GDR) and Gedsermarker (DK) and by ferry between Sassnitzmarker (GDR) and Rønnemarker (DK) or Trelleborgmarker (S) and two other to Czechoslovakia via Schmilka (GDR)/Hřensko marker (ČSSR) and via Fürstenau (a part of today's Geisingmarker) (GDR)/Cínovec (ČSSR).

The transit routes were used for East German internal traffic as well. This meant that transit passenger could meet with East Germans and East Berliners at motorway restaurants. On leaving East Germany the border controllers could calculate from the time of entry if a traveller spent much more time than necessary to cross the country. Excessive time would arouse their suspicion, that the traveller left the route or met with Easterners. Western coach, however, were only allowed to stop at service areas especially reserved for them, since East Germany feared Easterners would use them as a means to flee into the West.

On 1 September 1951 East Germany, always short in foreign exchange, started to levy road toll from cars passing through the transit routes. At first the toll amounted to Eastern Deutsche Mark 10 per passenger car and 10 to 50 for lorries, according to their size. Eastern Deutsche Marks had to be bartered at the arbitrarily dictated rate of 1 : 1 for Western Deutsche Mark. On 30 March 1955 East Germany lifted the toll for passenger cars to 30 Deutsche Marks, but reduced it in June again to the old level after West German protests. Following a new agreement between East and West Germany starting from 1 January 1980 the Western Federal Government paid an annual lump sum ( ) of 50 million Western Deutsche Marks to the Eastern government, so that transit passengers were no further bothered with tolls, which were back then still unknown in East and West Germany.

Railway Traffic to West Berlin passing through East Germany

Four transit train connections - earlier also called interzonal train ( ) -, not open for ordinary passengers within East Germany and thus only stopping for Eastern border controllers once entering and again when leaving East Germany, connected West Berlin with Hamburgmarker via Schwanheidemarker (E)/Büchenmarker (W) in the North, with Hanovermarker via Marienborn (E)/Helmstedt (W) in the West, with Frankfurt upon Mainmarker via Gerstungenmarker (E)/Hönebachmarker (W) in the Southwest and with Nurembergmarker via Probstzellamarker (E)/Ludwigsstadtmarker (W) in the South of West Germany. Until the construction of the Berlin Wallmarker interzonal trains would also stop once on their way within East Germany for travellers having the necessary visa to enter or leave East Germany, respectively. For travelling by train to Czechoslovakia, Denmark (by ferry), Poland, or Sweden (by ferry) one had first to enter East Berlin or East Germany with the necessary visa and then transfer to an Eastern international train for the respective destination - on its course within East Germany also serving internal traffic. One railway connection between West Berlin and Oebisfeldemarker (E)/Wolfsburgmarker (W) was reserved for freight trains only.

On taking over their occupation sectors in West Berlin in July and August 1945 the three Western Allies and the Soviet Union decided that the railways, operated up until then by the national German Deutsche Reichsbahn (1920-1949), should continue to be operated (and reconstructed) by the same body in all four sectors. So West Berlin had - with the exception of some small private railway lines - no separate railway administration. Furthermore, the operation of the Reichsbahn's Berlin S-Bahn electric metropolitan transport network, having developed from commuter trains, was subject to the same agreement. After the foundation of East Germany on 7 October 1949 the East German government continued to run all the railways in its territory under the official name Deutsche Reichsbahn, by so doing it maintained responsibility for almost all railway transport in all four sectors of Berlin. The legal necessity of keeping the term 'Deutsche Reichsbahn' explains the surprising use of the word 'Reich' in the name of an official organisation of the communist GDR. Another anomaly was that the GDR controlled 'Bahnpolizei', the Reichsbahn's railway police, were entitled to patrol station premises and other railway property in the whole city including West Berlin; an East German police force operating in West Berlin stations, freight yards and along the tracks.

After the Berlin Blockade transit trains ( ) would leave and enter West Berlin only via one line through Berlin-Wannsee railway stationmarker (W) and Potsdam Griebnitzsee railway station (E). All transit trains would start or end in East Berlin, thus passing only through West Berlin with one single stop in the Western Berlin Zoologischer Garten railway stationmarker, which became West Berlin's main station. Until 1952 the Reichsbahn also allowed stops at other stations on the way through the Western sectors. After the tensions between East and West Germany eased, starting on 30 May 1976 transit trains going westwards, southwestwards or southwards were once again stopped at the Western station of Wannsee. For transit trains going northwestwards a shorter line was reopened on 26 September 1976 with an additional stop at the then Berlin-Spandau railway stationmarker, entering East Germany at Staakenmarker. Among the Reichsbahn's employees, working in West Berlin, there were many West Berliners. Their employer, being an East German entity, whose proceeds from ticket sales for Western Deutsche Marks had to add up for East Germany's much needed foreign exchange revenues, tried to spend as few Western Deutsche Marks on wages and social safety net contributions as possible. Therefore West Berliners employed by the Reichsbahn were paid partly in Eastern currency, combined with the privilege to also spend that money in the East and export their purchases to West Berlin, which was something not allowed to the same extent for other Westerners. They were trained in East Germany and employed under East German labour laws. As to their health care West Berliners, employed by the Reichsbahn, were not included in the Western health insurance system. The Reichsbahn ran its own hospital for them in West Berlin, the building is now used as the headquarters of Bombardier Transportation. For difficult cases they would seek treatment in a hospital in East Berlin. In emergencies they could however use normal West Berlin doctors and hospitals, which would then be paid for by the Reichsbahn, but otherwise they had to pay cash.

The GDR used the western stations to distribute propaganda and display posters with slogans like "Americans Go Home." On 1 May, May Day, a state holiday in East and West, S-Bahn trains were sometimes decorated with the East German state flag and a red flag.

Traffic with West Berlin by inland vessels through East Germany

Two waterways via the rivers Havelmarker - crossing at the East German border control in Nedlitz (a part of Potsdam-Bornstedtmarker) - continuing through the Elbe-Havel Canalmarker and then either taking the Elbe northwestwards crossing the border again at Cumlosenmarker (E)/Schnackenburgmarker (W) or westwards following the Mittellandkanalmarker to Buchhorst (E)/Rühenmarker (W) were open for inland navigation, but only freight vessels were allowed. Western freight vessels were also compelled to stop only at service areas reserved for them, because East Germany feared Easterners could try to hide on them. By these waterways West Berlin stayed connected with the western European inland navigation network, connecting to seaports like Hamburg and Rotterdammarker as well as industrial areas such as the Ruhr Area, Mannheimmarker, Baselmarker, Belgiummarker and eastern Francemarker.

At taking their occupation sectors in West Berlin in July and August 1945 the Western Allies and the Soviet Union had decided that the operation and maintenance of the waterways and locks, run until then by the national German directorate for inland navigation ( ), should also in future be continued and reconstructed by it in all four sectors. So West Berlin had - except of some later built canals and locks - no separate inland navigation authority, but the East Berlin-based authority operated and maintained - after a fashion - most waterways and locks.

The western entrance to the Teltowkanal, connecting several industrial areas of West Berlin for heavy freight transport, was blocked by East Germany in Potsdam-Klein Glienicke, so that the vessels going there had to float a long deviation via the river Spreemarker through West and East Berlin's city centre to enter the canal from the East. Only on 20 November 1981 East Germany reopened the western entrance. For this purpose East Germany opened two more vessel border checkpoints - Dreilinden and Kleinmachnowmarker - because the border between East Germany and West Berlin criss-crossed the waterway in its western course four times. Another transit waterway connected West Berlin via the East German vessel checkpoint at Hennigsdorf and the Oder-Havel Canalmarker with the Oder river and Polish Szczecin marker.

Traffic with West Berlin by plane over East Germany

Flights were the only connection between West Berlin and the Western world not under East German control. British European Airways opened the first regular service for civilians on 4 July 1948 between West Berlin and Hamburg. Tickets were originally sold for Pound sterling only. Especially West Berliners and West Germans, who had earlier fled East Germany or East Berlin and thus feared to be imprisoned, once entering East Germany or East Berlin, depended on flights. In order to allow people fearing Eastern imprisonment to fly from and to West Berlin the western Federal Government subsidised the flights.

The flights between West Germany and West Berlin were under Allied control by the quadripartite Berlin Air Safety Center. In its procedures and agreements, frozen to invariable rules by the Cold War, three air corridors to West Germany only were provided, which were exclusively open for British, French or U.S. military planes or civilian planes registered with companies in those countries. The airspace controlled by the Berlin Air Safety Center comprised a radius of 20 miles (32.12 km) around the seat of the Center in the Kammergerichtmarker building in Berlin-Schönebergmarker - thus covering most of East and West Berlin and the three corridors, of the same width - one northwestwards to Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel Airportmarker, one westwards to Hanover, one southwestwards to Frankfurt upon Main (Rhein-Main Air Basemarker). Also the airspace expanding to a width of 20 miles over the German-German border was subject to the control by the Berlin Air Safety Center. No change as to allowing other civil airlines did emerge. Therefore the West German Lufthansamarker and most other airlines could not fly to West Berlin. Flights of Lufthansa or the East German Interflug between East and West Germany (such as between West German Cologne and Hamburg and East German Leipzigmarker) existed from August 1989 on, but had to go either through Czechoslovakian or Danish airspace, circumventing the prohibited zone along the German-German border.

Traffic between West Berlin and East Germany proper

Until 1953 travelling from West Berlin into East Germany, which had been until October 7, 1949 the Soviet Zone of occupation in Germany, thereafter named the German Democratic Republicmarker (GDR), was possible under the regulations fixed by the three Allied military governments (the Soviet Military Administration in Germany , the Control Commission for Germany – British Element, and the Office of Military Government/United States ) for the Interzonal traffic between their adjacent occupation zones. On May 27, 1952 East Germany started to shut its borders with West Germany and West Berlin. West Berliners were only allowed to enter East Germany, including the adjacent suburbs outside the 115-km-long municipal borders in the North, West and South of West Berlin, with an entry permit, in most cases denied by the East German authorities. East German controls were established on roads in East German suburbs of West Berlin. Most streets were gradually closed for travel into East Germany. The last checkpoint to remain open was that at Glienicker Brückemarker towards Potsdam, before East Germany closed it on 3 July 1953. Also the checkpoint at Staaken's Heerstraße was then closed for traffic into East Germany, but remained open for transit travels to West Germany.

This was especially painful for West Berliners, who had friends and family in East Germany. However at this stage East Germans were still allowed to enter West Berlin. More difficult was the situation with a number of Berlin's cemeteries located in East Germany. Due to Berlin's fast urbanisation until the 1940-s many newly found Protestant and Catholic congregations could only find affordable grounds for graveyards outside the city, with those congregations now located in what had become West Berlin and the cemeteries in East Germany. Catholic congregations in Berlin-Charlottenburgmarker had their own cemetery called Friedhof vor Charlottenburg (in ), located west in West Berlin's East German suburb of Dallgowmarker. A number of Evangelical congregations in Berlin's southwestern quarters operated the huge denominational Southwestern Churchyard ( ) and right adjacent of it the Borough of Wilmersdorfmarker, now a part of West Berlin, ran two non-denominational forest cemeteries ( and Wilmersdorfer Waldfriedhof Güterfelde), since June 1913 connected to Berlin by an own - later electrified S-Bahn - line ending at Stahnsdorf station in now East German Stahnsdorfmarker, south of West Berlin. Some poorer Evangelical congregations in Berlin's central boroughs of Kreuzbergmarker and Weddingmarker, now in West Berlin, had their denominational graveyards in the Eastern Churchyard ( ) in East Berlin's eastern suburb of Ahrensfeldemarker. Now West Berliners, wishing to visit the grave of a relative or friend in one of these cemeteries were excluded - this particularly affected Catholics on All Saints day - as well as widows and widowers, who wanted to be buried beside their spouses. Up until 1961 East Germany reluctantly issued permits to West Berliners to visit the cemeteries on the Catholic feast of All Saints on 1 November and on the Protestant Day of Repentance and Prayer.

Between 1948 and 1952 the Reichsbahn started the process of connecting its suburbs beyond the western limits of West Berlin to its own overall Berlin S-Bahn network. Local trains from these areas which formerly went into and through West Berlin serving stations in that part of the city, line by line began to not stop in western stations or to terminate service short of West Berlin altogether. In the latter case these trains would terminate at the last interchange stops of the S-Bahn. Private West Berlin railway lines like the Neukölln-Mittenwalder Eisenbahn (NME), connecting the East German Mittenwaldemarker with West Berlin-Neuköllnmarker and the Bötzowbahn between West Berlin-Spandaumarker and East German Hennigsdorfmarker, were disrupted on October 26, 1948 and August 1950, respectively, at the border between West Berlin and East Germany. Tramways and bus routes, operated by West Berlin's public transport operator Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe Gesellschaft marker and connecting West Berlin with its East German suburbs had to be given up on 14 October 1950, after West Berlin tram and bus drivers had been arbitrarily arrested by East German police on several occasions.

The Eastern Reichsbahn shut down all of West Berlin's terminus stations redirecting the trains that usually went there to stations in East Berlin, starting with Berlin Görlitzer Bahnhofmarker - closed on 29 April 1951 -, before serving rail traffic with Görlitzmarker and the Southeast of East Germany, on 28 August 1951 Berlin Lehrter Bahnhof followed suit, with trains from the western and northwestern parts of East Germany being redirected to stations in East Berlin and trains from West Germany being redirected to the Western Berlin Zoologischer Garten. Finally the Reichsbahn closed down both Berlin Anhalter Bahnhofmarker and Berlin Nordbahnhofmarker, on 18 May 1952. The Anhalter Bahnhof had been until then the terminus for trains from Anhalt and other southwestern parts of East Germany (so-called Middle Germanymarker) as well as from West German Southern Germanymarker. Western trains again were redirected to Zoo station, trains from East German destinations to East Berlin. Nordbahnhof, until December 1, 1950 known as Berlin Stettiner Bahnhof, used to serve the railway traffic to and from Stettinmarker and after World War II with Hither Pomerania in the Northeast of East Germany. Nordbahnhof was actually situated in East Berlin, its connection with East Germany, however, led for a short stretch through the West Berlin Borough of Weddingmarker.

On 28 August 1951 the Reichsbahn opened a new connection - from Spandau via Berlin Jungfernheide stationmarker - for the S-Bahn lines connecting East German suburbs to the west of West Berlin (namely Falkensee, Staaken) with East Berlin, circumventing the centre of West Berlin. The next stage in the Reichbahn's process of cutting off West Berlin from its East German suburbs was the introduction of traverse S-Bahn trains ( ), which began in June 1953. These services started in the East German suburbs adjacent to West Berlin (such as Falkensee, Potsdam, Oranienburgmarker, Staaken, and Veltenmarker), traversing West Berlin non-stop to halt again at stations in East Berlin. From June 17 to July 9, 1953 East Germany blocked off any traffic between East and West due to the Uprising of 1953 in East Germany.

From October 4 in the same year, all S-Bahn trains crossing the border between East Germany and East or West Berlin had to stop on the East German side for a border control. Also patrols and controls were intensified on East German streets leading to East or West Berlin. Since East Germany did not yet dare to control at the border between East and West Berlin, travellers from East Germany were checked before entering any part of Berlin, to detect suspects under apprehension of absconding westwards or smuggling rationed or rare goods into West Berlin. One other purpose of these controls was watching out for West Berliners, who were still allowed to freely enter East Berlin, but not to cross its municipal border into East Germany proper without a special permit.

Starting in 1951 the Reichsbahn constructed the Berlin orbital railway line ( ), connecting all the train routes heading for West Berlin and collecting the intra-GDR traffic from them, taking it straight to East Berlin, but by-passing West Berlin. With the gradual completion of the circuit, Sputnik express trains collected the commuters in the East German suburbs around West Berlin to bring them into East Berlin and back without crossing western sectors. Once the completed Außenring was operating the need for traverse S-Bahn trains disappeared and thus they ended on 4 May 1958. With the construction of the Berlin Wallmarker on August 13, 1961 any remaining railway traffic between West Berlin and its East German suburbs ended. The traffic between East and West Berlin was sharply reduced and restricted to few checkpoints fully under GDR control. East Berliners and East Germans were thus banned from freely entering West Berlin. However, people from all over the world, with the exception of West Berliners, who had been totally banned until 1963, were still given visas for East Berlin only - not including East Germany proper - at crossing one of the checkpoints at the Wall. In order to watch out for such visitors trespassing East Berlin's the 117-km-long municipal border towards East Germany controls and patrols on streets and railway lines connecting East Berlin and East Germany continued, less frequent though, until 1977.

Following the policy of détente of the Federal Government under Chancellor Willy Brandt, formerly Governing Mayor of West Berlin, West Berliners were allowed again to apply for visa to visit East Germany, which it granted much less restrictively then in the period until 1961. So from 4 June 1972 West Berlin's public transport operator BVG was able to open its first bus line into the East German suburbs since 1950 (line E to Potsdam via Checkpoint Bravo as it was known to the US military). Of course this route was only open to persons bearing all the necessary East German permits and visas. For visits to East Germany, visas permitting, West Berliners could use four checkpoints along the East German border around West Berlin: The two transit checkpoints Dreilinden (W)/Drewitz (E) and Berlin-Heiligenseemarker (W)/Stolpe (E) as well as the old transit checkpoint at Heerstraße (W)/Staaken (E) and the checkpoint at Waltersdorfer Chaussee (W)/Schönefeldmarker (E), which was also open for transit travellers, who took international flights from the then East German Schönefeld Airportmarker. An East German bus line - not open for Easterners - connected via the latter checkpoint the airport with West Berlin's Zoo station, stopping also at other traffic hubs within West Berlin.

While East Germans could always freely enter West Berlin, if East Germany allowed them to leave, which was the case from 9 November 1989 on, West Berliners and West Germans were only allowed to freely enter East Germany from 22 December 1989, when East Germany stopped demanding visas and the compulsory exchange of 25 Western Deutsche Marks per day. On 30 June 1990 all passport controls ceased.

Traffic between East and West Berlin

While East and West Berlin became formally separate jurisdictions in September 1948, and while there were travel restrictions in all other directions, for more than a decade, freedom of movement existed between the western sectors and the eastern sector of the city. However, time and again Soviet and later East German authorities imposed temporary restrictions for certain persons, certain routes, and certain means of transport. Gradually the eastern authorities disconnected and separated the two parts of the city.

While the Soviets blocked all transport to West Berlin (Berlin Blockade between 24 June 1948 to 12 May 1949) they increased the supplies for food in East Berlin, to gain the compliance of West Berliners who at that time still had free access to East Berlin. West Berliners, buying food in East Berlin, were regarded approving the Soviet attempt to repress the Western Allies from West Berlin, which was considered as support by the communists and as treason by most Westerners. Until that time all over Germany food and other necessary supplies had been available only with ration stamps issued by one's municipality, this was until the Communist putsch in Berlin's city government in September 1948 - the unitary City Council of Greater Berlinmarker ( ) for East and West.

By July 1948 a mere 19,000 West Berliners out of a total of almost 2 million covered their food requirements in East Berlin. So 99% of the West Berliners preferred to live with shorter supplies than before the Blockade but support the Western Allies' position. In West Germany rationing of most products had ended with the introduction of the Western Deutsche Mark on 21 June 1948. The new currency was also introduced in West Berlin on 24 June and this, at least officially was the justification for the Soviet Blockade due to which, rationing in West Berlin had to continue. However in the course of the Berlin Air Lift some supplies were increased beyond the pre-Blockade level and therefore certain rations in West Berlin were raised.

While West Berliners were officially welcome to buy food in East Berlin, the Soviets tried to prevent them buying other essential supplies there, particularly coal and fuel. For this reason, on 9 November 1948, they opened checkpoints on 70 streets entering West Berlin and closed the others for horse carriages, lorries and cars, later (16 March 1949) the Soviets erected roadblocks on the closed streets. From 15 November 1948 West Berlin ration stamps were no longer accepted in East Berlin. All the same, the Soviets started a campaign with the slogan The smart West Berliner buys at the HO ( , the HO being the Soviet zone chain of shops. They also opened so-called "Free Shops" in the Eastern Sector, offering supplies without ration stamps, but at extremely high prices in Eastern Deutsche Marks. Ordinary East and West Berliners could only afford to buy there if they had revenues in Western Deutsche Mark and bartered the needed Eastern Deutsche Mark on the spontaneous currency markets, which developed in the British sector at the Zoo station. There demand and supply determined a barter ratio in favour of the Western Deutsche Mark with more than 2 Eastern Deutsche Marks offered for one Western Deutsche Mark. After the Blockade - when holders of Western Deutsche Marks could buy as much they could afford, up to five and six east marks were offered for one west mark. In the East however, the Soviets had arbitrarily decreed a rate of 1 for 1 and exchanging at other rates was criminalised.

On 12 May 1949 the Blockade ended and all roadblocks and checkpoints between East and West Berlin were removed. The Berlin Airlift, however, continued until 30 September 1949 to amass sufficient supplies in West Berlin in readiness for another possible blockade, ensuring that an airlift could then be re-started with ease. On 2 May 1949 the power stations in East Berlin again started to supply West Berlin with sufficient electricity, which had to be rationed to some hours a day after the usual supplies had been interrupted at the start of the Blockade. However, the Western Allies and the West Berlin City Council decided to be self sufficient in terms of electricity generation capacity, to be independent of Eastern supplies and not to be held to ransom by the eastern authorities. On 1 December 1949 the new powerhouse West ( , in 1953 renamed after the former Governing Mayor of West Berlin into Kraftwerk Reuter West) went on line and West Berlin's electricity board declared independence from Eastern supplies. However, for a time Eastern electricity continued to be supplied albeit intermitently. Supply was interrupted from 1 July until the end of 1950 and then started again until 4 March 1952, when the East finally switched it off. From then on West Berlin turned into an 'electricity island' within a pan-European electricity grid that had developed from the 1920s, because electricity transfers between East and West Germany never fully ceased. The 'electricity island' situation was noticed most in situations of particularly high demand; in other areas of Europe peaks in demand could be met by tapping into electricity supplies from neighbouring areas, but in West Berlin this was not an option and for certain users the lights would go out.

In 1952 West Berliners were restricted entry to East Germany proper by means of a hard-to-obtain East German permit. Free entry to East Berlin remained possible until 1961 and the building of the wall. Berlin's underground (Untergrundbahn, U-Bahn) and Berlin's S-Bahn (a metropolitan public transit network), rebuilt after the war, continued to span all occupation sectors. Many people lived in one half of the city and had family, friends, and jobs in the other. However, the East continuously reduced the means of public transport between East and West, with private cars being a very rare privilege in the East and still a luxury in the West.

Starting on 15 January 1953 the tram network was interrupted. East Berlin's public transport operator Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG-East, BVB as of 1 January 1969) staffed all trams, whose lines crossed the sectorial border, with women drivers, which were not permitted as drivers by the BVG (West), West Berlin's public transport operator. Instead of changing the Western rules, so that the Easterly intended interruption of the cross-border tram traffic would not happen, the BVG (West) insisted on male drivers. So cross-border tram traffic ended on 16 January. In East German propaganda this was a point for the East, arguing that the West did not allow drivers coming with their trams from the East to continue along their line into the West, but remaining silent on the fact that the end of cross-border tram traffic was most welcome to the East. The underground and the S-Bahn networks, except the above-mentioned traverse S-Bahn trains, continued to provide services between East and West Berlin. However, occasionally the East Berlin police - in the streets and on cross-border trains in East Berlin - identified suspicious behaviour (such as carrying heavy loads westwards) and watched out for unwelcome Westerners.

Once in a while West Germans were banned from entering East Berlin. This was the case between 29 August and 1 September 1960, when so-called homecomers ( ) from all around West Germany and West Berlin met for a convention in that city. The homecomers from a long compulsory detention in the Soviet Union - with their special experiences there - were highly unwelcome in East Berlin. Since they could not be recognised by their identification papers all West Germans were banned for these days from East Berlin. West Berliners were allowed, since the quadripartite Allied status quo provided for their free movement around all four sectors. From 8 September 1960 on, the East subjected all West Germans to apply for a permit before entering East Berlin.

As the communist dictatorship in the East intensified, and the economic recovery in the West significantly outperformed the Eastern development, more than hundred thousand East Germans and East Berliners left East Germany and East Berlin for the West every year. East Germany closed the borders between East and West Germany and sealed off the border with West Berlin in 1952; but because of the quadripartite Allied status of the city, the 46-km-long border between East and West Berlin remained open. As there was freedom of movement between West Berlin and West Germany, Easterners could use the city as a transit point to West Germany, usually travelling there by air.

To stop this drain of people defecting, the East German government built the Berlin Wallmarker, thus physically closing off West Berlin from East Berlin and East Germany, on August 13, 1961. All Eastern streets, bridges, paths, windows, doors, gates or sewers opening to West Berlin were systematically sealed off by walls, concrete elements, barbed wire or bars. The wall was directed against the Easterners, who by its construction were no longer allowed to leave the East, except with an Eastern permit, not usually granted.

Westerners were still granted visas on entering East Berlin. Initially eight street checkpoints were opened, and one checkpoint in the Berlin Friedrichstraße railway stationmarker, which was reached by one line of the Western underground (today's U 6), two Western S-Bahn lines, one under and one above ground (approximate to today's S 2 and S 3, however lines changed a lot from 1990 onwards), and transit trains between West Germany and West Berlin started and ended there.

Map showing location of the Berlin wall and transit points
The eight street checkpoints were - from North to South along the Wall - on Bornholmer Straße, Chausseestraße, Invalidenstraße, Brandenburg Gatemarker, Friedrichstraßemarker (Checkpoint Charliemarker in US military denomination, since this crossing was to their sector), Heinrich-Heine-Straße (also Checkpoint Delta), and Sonnenalleemarker. When the construction of the Wall started after midnight early on August 13, West Berlin's Governing Mayor Willy Brandt was on a West German federal election campaigning tour in West Germany. Arriving by train in Hanover at 4a.m. he was informed about the Wall and flew back to West Berlin's Tempelhof Central Airportmarker. In the course of the day he protested along with many other West Berliners on Potsdamer Platzmarker and at the Brandenburg Gate. On 14 August, under the pretext that Western demonstrations required it, the East closed the checkpoint at the Brandenburg Gate, 'until further notice', a situation that was to last until 22 December 1989, when it was finally reopened.

On 26 August 1961 East Germany generally banned West Berliners from entering the Eastern sector. West Germans and other nationals however could still get visas on entering East Berlin. Since intra-city phone lines had been cut by the East already in May 1952 (see below) the only remaining way of communication with family or friends on the other side was by mail or at meeting in a motorway restaurant on a transit route, because the transit traffic remained unaffected throughout.

On 18 May 1962 East Germany opened the so-called Tränenpalastmarker checkpoint hall ( ) at Berlin Friedrichstraße station, where Easterners had to say a sometimes tearful farewell to returning Westerners as well as the few Easterners who had managed to get a permit to visit the West. Up until June 1963 the East deepened its border zone around West Berlin in East Germany and East Berlin by clearing existing buildings and vegetation to create an open field of view, sealed off by the Berlin Wall towards the West and a second wall or fence of similar characteristics to the East, observed by armed men in towers, ordered to shoot possible refugees.

Finally in 1963 West Berliners were again allowed to visit East Berlin. On this occasion a further checkpoint for pedestrians only was opened on the Oberbaumbrückemarker. West Berliners were granted visas for a one-day-visit between 17 December 1963 and 5 January the following year. 1.2 million out of a total 1.9 million West Berliners visited East Berlin during this period. In 1964, 1965 and 1966 East Berlin was opened again to West Berliners, but each time only for a limited period.

East Germany found particular joy in playing with the different legal statuses it assigned to East Germans, East Berliners and West Germans and West Berliners, as well as citizens from other countries in the world. Up until 1990 East Germany designated each Border crossings in East Berlin for certain categories of persons, with only one street checkpoint being open simultaneously for West Berliners and West Germans (Bornholmer Straße) and Berlin Friedrichstraße railway station being open for all travellers.

On 9 September 1964 the East German Council of Ministers (government) decided to allow Eastern pensioners to visit family in West Germany or West Berlin. According to the specified regulations valid from 2 November on Eastern pensioners could apply, and were usually allowed, to travel into the West to visit relatives once a year for a maximum of four weeks. If pensioners decided not to return, the government did not miss them as manpower, unlike younger Easterners, who were subject to a system of labour and employment, which demanded almost everybody work in the Eastern command production system.

On 2 December 1964 East Germany, always short of hard currency, decreed that every Western visitor had to buy a minimum of 5 Eastern Mark der Deutschen Notenbank per day (MDN, 1964-1968 the official name of the East German mark, to distinguish it from the West Deutsche Mark) at the still held arbitrary compulsory rate of 1 : 1. The five marks had to be spent as exporting Eastern currency was illegal, which is why importing it, after having bargained for it at the currency market at Zoo station, was also illegal. Western pensioners and children were spared from the compulsory exchange (officially in , i.e. minimum exchange). Not long after East Germany held the first cash harvest from the new compulsory exchange rules by allowing West Berliners to visit East Berlin once more for a day during the Christmas season. The following year, 1965, East Germany opened the travelling season for West Berliners on 18 December. In 1966 it opened for a second harvest of Western money between the Easter (April 10) and Pentecost (May 29) holidays and later again at Christmas.

The situation only changed fundamentally after 11 December 1971 when, representing the two German states, the Western Egon Bahr and the Eastern Michael Kohl signed the Transit Agreement. This followed by a comparable agreement for West Berliners, once more allowing regular visits to East Germany and East Berlin.

After ratification of the Agreement and specifying the pertaining regulations West Berliners could apply for the first time again for visas for any chosen date to East Berlin or East Germany from 3 October 1972 onwards. If granted, a one-day-visa entitled them to leave the East until 2a.m. the following day. West Berliners were now spared the visa fee of 5 Western Deutsche Marks, not to be confused with the compulsory exchange amounting to the same sum, but yielding in return 5 Eastern marks. This financial relief did not last long, because on 15 November 1973 East Germany doubled the compulsory exchange to 10 Eastern marks, payable in West German Deutsche Marks at par.

One-day-visas for East Berlin were now issued in a fast procedure on entering East Berlin; visas for longer stays and visas for East Germany proper needed a prior application, which could be a lengthy procedure. To ease the application for West Berliners seeking such Eastern visas, the GDR Foreign Ministry was later allowed to open Offices for the Affairs of Visits and Travelling ( ) in West Berlin, but were not allowed to show any official symbols of East Germany. The Eastern officials working commuted every morning and evening between East and West Berlin. Their uniforms showed no official symbols except the name Büro für Besuchs- und Reiseangelegenheiten. They accepted visa applications and handed out confirmed visas issued in the East, to the West Berlin applicants. A barracks formerly housing one such Büro für Besuchs- und Reiseangelegenheiten can be found on Waterlooufer 5-7 in Berlin-Kreuzbergmarker, close to Hallesches Tor underground stationmarker.Wissenswertes über Berlin: Nachschlagewerk für zuziehende Arbeitnehmer von A-Z (11968), Senator für Wirtschaft und Arbeit (ed.), Berlin (West): Senator für Wirtschaft und Arbeit, 121986, p. 117. No ISBN. The disagreement about Berlin's status was one of the most important debates of the Cold War.

Another form of traffic between East and West Berlin was the transfer of West Berlin's sewage into East Berlin and East Germany through the sewer pipes built in the late 19th and early 20th century. The sewage flowed into the East because most of the pre-war premises for sewage treatment, mostly sewage farms, happened to be in the East after the division of the city. Sewer pipes, however, once discovered as a way to flee the East, were blocked by bars. West Berlin paid for the treatment of its sewage in Western Deutsche Marks which were desperately needed by the Eastern government. Since the methods used in the East did not meet Western standards, West Berlin increased the capacity of modern sewage treatment within its own territory, so that the amount of its sewage treated in the East has considerably reduced by the time the wall came down.

Similar was the situation with refuse. The removal, burning or disposal of the ever-growing amount of West Berlin's rubbish became a costly problem, but here too an agreement was found, since West Berlin would pay in Western Deutsche Marks. On 11 December 1974 East Germany and West Berlin's garbage utility company BSR signed a contract to dispose of refuse on a dump right beside the Wall in East German Groß-Ziethen (today a part of Schönefeldmarker). An extra checkpoint, solely open for Western bin lorries was opened there. Later a second dump, further away, was opened in Vorketzin, a part of Ketzinmarker.

As for the S-Bahn, operated in all of Berlin by the East German Reichsbahn, the construction of the wall meant a deep cut into its integrated network of lines, especially for Berlin's circular S-Bahn line around all of the Western and Eastern inner city. The lines were separated and those mostly located in West Berlin were continued, but only accessible from West Berlin with all access in East Berlin was closed. However, even before the wall had been built, West Berliners increasingly refrained from using the S-Bahn, since boycotts against it were issued, the argument being that every S-Bahn ticket bought provided the GDR government with valuable Western Deutsche Marks. Usage dropped further as the Western public transport operator BVG (West) offered parallel bus lines and expanded its network of underground lines. After the construction of the wall usage dropped so much that running the S-Bahn lines in West Berlin turned into a loss-making exercise: wages and maintenance costs - however badly it was carried out outdid the proceeds from ticket sales. So the Reichsbahn finally agreed to surrender operation of the S-Bahn in West Berlin, as had been determined by all Allies in 1945, and on 29 December 1983 the Allies, the Senate of Berlin (West; i.e. the city state government) and the Reichsbahn signed an agreement to change the operator from Reichsbahn to BVG (West) which took effect on 9 January 1984.

On 9 November 1989 East Germany opened the borders for East Germans and East Berliners, who could then freely enter West Berlin. West Berlin itself had never restricted their entry. For West Berliners and West Germans the opening of the border for free entry lasted longer. The regulation concerning one-day-visas on entering the East and the compulsory minimum exchange of 25 Western Deutsche Marks by 1989, continued. However, more checkpoints were opened. Finally on 22 December 1989 East Germany granted West Berliners and West Germans free entry without charge at the existing checkpoints, demanding only valid papers. Eastern controls were slowly eased into spot checks and finally abolished on June 30, 1990, the day East and West introduced the union concerning currency, economy and social safety ( ).

Traffic between different parts of West Berlin crossing the East

East and West Berlin's borders took a complicated course, including enclaves and exclaves, since the borders followed the municipal borders of its components, which had developed since the 12th century with some occasional redeployments in 1920 - by the Greater Berlin Actmarker, in 1938 - by a simplification of some borough borders within Greater Berlin and by the Allies in August 1945, e.g. shaping the British sector that way, that it would include the entire Wehrmacht airfield at Berlin-Gatowmarker in the southwestern corner of this sector. In return the geographically western section of West Berlin's quarter Staakenmarker - at the western most end of the British Sector, was handed over to the Soviets. This caused the confusing fact, that as of 1951 the geographically western Staaken was an exclave of the politically Eastern East Berlin at the geographically western outskirts of West Berlin, while the geographically eastern Staaken remained with the politically Western British sector, thus West Berlin.

By the Four Power Agreement on Berlin (1971) the Allies empowered West Berlin to negotiate territorial redeployments with East Germany. On 20 December 1971 the first territorial redeployment took place, concerning the exclaves numbered 1–3, 6, 8, 10 and 11 mentioned below, connecting the latter with West Berlin and ceding the former six to East Germany as well as including a payment of four million West German Deutsche Marks to the East. The remaining exclaves were either ceded (No. 5, 7 and 12) to East Germany or territorially connected with West Berlin (No. 4 and 6) in a second redeployment in 1988.

West Berlin's twelve exclaves were the following:
  • 1–3 Böttcherberg (0.30 ha/0.74 acre): three unconnected, uninhabited and unused pieces of land, belonged to West Berlin's Borough of Zehlendorfmarker, ceded to East Germany in 1971, since then a part of Potsdammarker.
  • 4 Erlengrund (0.51 ha/1.26 acre): Allotment club, seasonally inhabited, belonging to the Borough of Spandaumarker, territorially connected with West Berlin, when East Germany ceded the interjacent tract of land in 1988. Until 1988 the allotmentiers had to pass supervised by East German controllers on their short way between Erlengrund and the rest of West Berlin. Other passengers, like friends and family, let alone strangers, were not allowed to pass, except of emergency rescuers. The path connecting Erlengrund was fenced on both sides not allowing Easterners to enter.
  • 5 Falkenhagener Wiese (45.44 ha/112.28 acre): unused grassland, belonged to the Borough of Spandau, ceded to East Germany in 1988, since then a part of Falkenseemarker.
  • 6 Fichtewiese (3.51 ha/8.67 acre): Allotment club, seasonally inhabited, belonging to the Borough of Spandau, territorially connected with West Berlin, when East Germany ceded the interjacent tract of land in 1988. Until 1988 the allotmentiers had to pass East German controls on their short way between Fichtewiese and the rest of West Berlin. Other passengers, like friends and family, let alone strangers, were not allowed to pass, except of emergency rescuers. The path connecting Fichtewiese was fenced on both sides not allowing Easterners to enter.
  • 7 Finkenkrug, (3.45 ha/8.53 acre): inhabited by East Germans, five km away from West Berlin's border, belonged to the Borough of Spandau, ceded to East Germany in 1971, since then a part of Falkensee.
  • 8 Große Kuhlake (8.03 ha/19.84 acre): unused grassland, belonged to the Borough of Spandau, ceded to East Germany in 1971.
  • 9 Laßzins-Wiesen (13.49 ha/33.33 acre): unused grassland, belonged to the Borough of Spandau, ceded to East Germany in 1988, since then a part of Schönwaldemarker.
  • 10 Nuthewiesen (3.64 ha/8.99 acre): uninhabited wet meadows, belonged to the Borough of Zehlendorf, ceded to East Germany in 1971, since then a part of Potsdam.
  • 11 Steinstückenmarker (12.67 ha/31.31 acre): inhabited by West Berliners, belonging to the Borough of Zehlendorf, territorially connected with West Berlin, when East Germany ceded the interjacent tract of land in 1971. Until 1971 the inhabitants had to pass East German controls on their way between Steinstücken and the rest of West Berlin. Other passengers, like friends and family, let alone strangers, were not allowed to pass, except of emergency rescuers and handcrafters for repairs. The road connecting Steinstücken was immured on both sides not allowing Easterners to enter it.
  • 12 Wüste Mark (21.83 ha/53.94 acre): despite its name, no wasteland but a seasonally tilled acreage, belonging to the Borough of Zehlendorf, ceded to East Germany in 1988, since then a part of Stahnsdorfmarker. Wüste Mark is a tract of land adjacent to Wilmersdorf's forest cemetery in Güterfelde. Until 1988 the West Berlin farmer tilling the land was allowed to cross with his tractor through East Germany after announcement following a fixed regulation.

When the Wall was built in 1961 three metro lines starting in northern parts of West Berlin, passed through tunnels under the Eastern city centre and ended again in southern parts of West Berlin. The lines concerned were today's underground lines U 6 and U 8 and the S-Bahn line S 2 (today partly also used by other lines). On the sealing off of West Berlin from East Berlin by the Berlin Wall the entrances of the stations on these lines located in East Berlin were shut, however western trains were allowed to continue to pass through without stopping. Passengers in these trains experienced the empty and barely lit 'ghost stations' where time had stood still since 13 August 1961. West Berlin's public transport operator BVG (West) paid the east an annual charge in Western Deutsche Marks for its underground lines to use the tunnels under East Berlin. U 6 and S 2 also had one subterranean stop at the Eastern Berlin Friedrichstraße railway stationmarker, the only station beneath East Berlin where western U Bahn trains were still allowed to stop. Passengers could change there between U 6 and S 2 or for the transit trains to West Germany, buy duty free tobacco and liquor for west marks in GDR run kiosks, or enter East Berlin through an inbuilt checkpoint.

Post and telecommunications

West Berlin had its own postal administration first called Deutsche Post Berlin (1947-1955) and then Deutsche Bundespost Berlin, separate from West Germany's Deutsche Bundespost, and issuing its own postage stamps until 1990. However the separation was merely symbolic, in reality West Berlin's postal service was completely integrated with West Germany's, using the same postal code system. East and West delivered each other postal battles in 1948/1949 (during the Blockade) and 1959/1960 (World Year of the Refugees) refusing to transport messages with stamps showing values in the new East or West German currency or with special stamps showing subjects related to the Blockade or the fate of the World War II refugees.

The Post Office also ran the telephone network in Berlin. It was in a sorry state in all four sectors, because by July 1945, before the Western Allies took control of their sectors, the Soviets had dismantled and deported almost all automatic telephone switches, allowing direct dialling instead of operator connected calling. So Berlin's telephone network dropped from hundreds of thousands of connected telephones to a mere 750 in use by end of 1945, all of which were assigned to Allied staff or utility services. Rebuilding the system became a lengthy enterprise because of the post-war economic crisis and the following Berlin Blockade. On 25 February 1946 calls between Berlin and any of the four Allied zones of occupation were again made possible. In April 1949 the Eastern branch of the Deutsche Post disconnected all 89 existing telephone lines from West Berlin into the Soviet Zone of occupation in Germany.

Meanwhile West Berlin was integrated into the West German telephone network, using the same international dialling code as West Germany, +49, with the area code 030. On 27 May 1952 the Eastern Deutsche Post cut all 4,000 lines connecting East and West Berlin. In order to reduce Eastern tapping of telecommunications between West Berlin and West Germany microwave radio relay connections were built, which wirelessly transmitted telephone calls between antenna towers in West Germany and West Berlin, where two of which were built, one antenna in Berlin-Wannseemarker and later a second in Berlin-Frohnaumarker, finished on 16 May 1980 with a height of (this tower was demolished on 8 February 2009).

Following the détente, on 31 January 1971 East Germany allowed the opening of 10 telephone lines between East and West Berlin. The Western area code for East Berlin was then 00372 (international access prefix 00, East German country code 37, area code 2). Calls from East Berlin were only possible via the operator. On June 24, 1972 East Germany opened 32 local exchanges (including Potsdam) in the East German suburbia of West Berlin for calls from West Berlin. From 14 April 1975 East Berliners could once again dial directly to West Berlin, without the operator. East Germany conceded to an increase in lines between East and West Berlin to 120 on 15 December 1981. However, private phones were very rare in the East. In 1989, the 17 million East Germans (including East Berliners) were served by only 4 million telephones, only half of which were installed in private homes, the rest being in offices, companies, public telephone kiosks, and the like.

Boroughs of West Berlin

Entering East Berlin from West Berlin
West Berlin comprised the following boroughs:

In the American Sector:

In the British Sector:

In the French Sector:

See also

External links


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