The exhibition presents the history of both parts of the divided city – their contrasts and similarities – from the end of World War II onwards. The presentation is always “two-sided” – events in West Berlin are seen in relation to those in the East: Berlin in ruins, rebuilding, blockade and airlift, Ernst Reuter’s appeal to the world (1948): “Look to this city and recognize that you must not abandon it and its people, that you cannot abandon it!”
Between 1961 and 1989 more than 5,000 people were able to escape across the Berlin Wall. In the course of time the aids they used to overcome the increasingly perfected GDR border security system became more and more inventive, and many of them have found their way into the museum’s collection: several modified cars, a mini submarine used to tow an escapee across the Baltic Sea, hot-air balloons and homemade, motorized hang gliders equipped with a Trabant engine or the tank of a Java motorbike. People also escaped hidden in loudspeakers or in a radiogram.?
Full documentation is available on numerous escape tunnels. The most successful of them enabled 57 people to reach West Berlin on two evenings in October 1964. In addition to many photographs of the tunnel, the car in which the excavated earth was disposed of is also on view. For this donation we are grateful to one of the escape helpers, Reinhard Furrer, who later on became one of the first Germans in space and who died in 1995 in a plane crash.