A flying visit to Steinstücken

The Berliner Mauerweg is a route which follows the course of the wall, with signs to direct walkers and cyclists following it. It would be easy to get confused here, though - there are three signs:


Signs for the Berliner Mauerweg pointing in three directions


How could the wall have possibly gone in all the directions the signs indicate? Enter the strange story of Steinstücken.

The origins of Steinstücken go back to 1787, when farmers from the nearby town of Stolpe acquired land here, outside of the town boundaries. A settlement was later founded there, which later became part of Wannsee which later, in turn, became part of Berlin.

This was all fine until Germany became divided and Steinstücken, part of West Berlin, found itself in the middle of East German territory. In 1951, East German Volkspolizei (people's police) occupied Steinstücken in an attempt to annex it. Neither the residents nor the Americans, whose occupation zone it belonged to, were very happy about this turn of events and the police were forced to leave a few days later.

Following the GDR's closing of its borders with West Germany in 1952, the residents of Steinstücken could only access West Berlin by passing through East German border controls; anyone from the west wanting to access Steinstücken needed special police permission.


Sign: Am Landeplatz


Though West Berlin was walled off in August 1961, the border around Steinstücken wasn't initially so heavily fortified. After several escapes into Steinstücken, including a number of GDR border troops, the exclave was more fully walled off.

The US military maintained an outpost here from September that year, manned by three soldiers, who came in and out by helicopter. This is commemorated by a street name and by a small memorial, made from two helicopter blades, where the landing pad was:


The helicopter memorial


Finally in 1972, in exchange for some uninhabited exclaves, the small strip of land along Bernhard-Beyer-Straße was given to West Berlin. after this, the wall went on a detour from its former course around West Berlin, along Bernhard-Beyer-Straße, around Steinstücken, then back again, before continuing along around the rest of West Berlin...which is why the Mauerweg signs point three ways!

S-Bahn: 
Griebnitzsee (S7)
Location: 
Steinstücken
Am Landeplatz
14109 Berlin

Comments

As a member of the 287th MP Co. I spent 3 tours of duty in Steinstucken. 10-61, 5-62 and 8-62. Loved every minute of it. No wall just fences.

Interesting to hear from you - I've never seen a precise date for when they replaced the fences with walls, but this narrows it down. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your memories!

Dear Sir:
I was United States Air Force at Rhein Main Air Base from 1979 to 1981. I was fortunate enough to visit Berlin, and Steinstucken in March of 1981. Do you have any pictures you would like to share from Steinstucken? I would love to hear from you.
Thanks for your Service.
All the Best,
Michael Whalen

It's very interesting to hear from you, Michael, visiting Steinstücken at that time must have been a unique experience. I'm not sure that I took all that many more pictures of Steinstücken at the time I took the ones on this page, as it was getting dark, but I'll have a rummage and see if I can find anything interesting that I can email over. Thanks for stopping by!

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