Bornholmer Straße

This is where Malmöer Straße meets Bornholmer Straße:



The sign at the corner of Bornholmer Straße


Twenty years ago, there was a border crossing point here, stretching from Malmöer Straße to the Bösebrücke, the bridge which crosses the S-Bahn tracks.



The Bösebrücke


Around this time, it would have seemed like a normal day to anyone approaching the checkpoint, or indeed even anyone working there. East German secretary for information Günter Schabowski was still preparing for his press conference in the international press centre in East Berlin. Even he wasn't completely prepared for what happened next. At just before 19:00 on the evening of November 9th 1989, he answered a question by an Italian journalist about new travel regulations, mentioning that it had been decided that day to make it be possible for citizens to leave the GDR by any of the border crossings. Another journalist asked when this would come into effect. Hesitating and shuffling through papers, under pressure for an answer by the journalists assembled there, he eventually said "That comes into effect, according to my information, immediately, without delay."

Once East Berliners heard this, they flocked to the border crossing points. In fact, the policy Schabowski had announced was supposed to have been introduced at 4 the next morning. The border guards hadn't yet been informed; the people took them by surprise. Confusion reigned, but the people continued gathering; the crossing point at Bornholmer Straße was the first in Berlin to give in to pressure and open its gates.

This plaque commemorates the event:


The plaque by the Bösebrücke


You can see the Bösebrücke on the right of the picture. Once people were across that, they were in West Berlin.

I passed a woman who was talking with a couple of German tourists. "We were so happy" she said, "we all wanted to go and take a look."


SNG vans on Bornholmer Straße


Some parts of Berlin seem to be swarming with news crews now, others are swarming with foreign tourists too, while some are curiously quiet. The main event is happening down at the Brandenburg Gate...which is where I'm headed now...more updates later!

S-Bahn: 
Bornholmer Straße (S2, S25, S8, S85, S9)
Location: 
Bornholmer Straße
Bornholmer Straße
10439 Berlin

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