In the preliminary phase of Virtuelle Mauer/ ReConstructing the Wall we investigated several sites along the former Berlin Wall, examining how the presence of the Wall affected the environment of the site, its urban development, and the life of the people living on both sides of the Wall. Each of these densely populated inner city quarters, cut in half by the Death Strip, developed their own individual cultures "in the shadow of the Wall" and presented us with engaging dramatic potential. On the basis of extensive research in state and federal archives we have selected one site to be the focus of our final project.

From Border Crossing Heinrich-Heine-Strasse to Engelbecken Park
At this site the Death Strip was the border between the districts "Mitte" and "Kreuzberg," stretching from the former border crossing at Heinrich-Heine-Strasse to the streets Engeldamm and Bethaniendamm. Directly adjacent to the border crossing was a densely populated neighborhood, divided into East and West by a narrow Death Strip. After this section, the Death Strip widened into a vast wasteland, well guarded by two watchtowers - the Engelbecken, which until 1948 had been an idyllic park with a large pond. Buildings on the East Berlin/Mitte side of the Engelbecken were mostly destroyed by bombs during the war, whereas the buildings on the West Berlin/Kreuzberg side had mostly survived intact. The further course of the Wall, following the former Luisenstaedtische Canal (filled in 1926), along Engeldamm ( East German name: Fritz-Heckert-Strasse) and Bethaniendamm up to the Schilling Bridge, was also a residential area divided in two by the Wall.

Extensive interviews with people who had lived along the Wall plus research in archives have given us a more detailed view of the events in this project area. These include escape attempts, incidents at the border crossing and art happenings, but also many aspects of normal daily life "in the shadow of the Wall." The border crossing Heinrich-Heine-Strasse is a very special situation, and for this research we gained permission to research in the BStU, the archives of the former East German secret police (Stasi.)

[ Project Area Map: Heinrich-Heine-Strasse to Engelbecken]

The other two locations under consideration were Oderberger Strasse and Lohmuehlen Bruecke

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Artist Team T+T