A Street Divided

ARD-series: "Mysterious Places"

Author & Director:
Daniel Ast | Juergen Ast | Hans-Hermann Hertle

Commissioning Editors:
Rolf Bergmann | Jens Stubenrauch

45' | World Sales: NEW DOCS

Daniel Ast

astfilm pictures UG | RBB // ARD | funded with means of the Federal Foundation for the reappraise of the SED-Dictatorship | in cooperation with the Berlin Wall Memorial Site and the Landesarchiv Berlin

A street as a symbol. The Bernauer Strasse, dividing line between East and West. Its inhabitants thrown into the grinder of the Cold War. A story that tells of a street and its disappearance. Of separation and escape. Of joy and death. Of despair and hope ...

The Bernauer Strasse - after the end of the war in 1945, here was the sector border between the Soviet and French sectors. The border line was not in the middle of the street, it ran along the facades of the houses that stood in the East. This was fateful for the street and its inhabitants, because all the houses on the GDR side were part of the border area when the Wall was built. A few days after August 13th, the front doors were locked, and soon afterwards the windows were walled up. The people who had their homes here had to leave their homes, were evicted. The first victims of the Wall were mourned at the Bernauer Strasse. Graves in a cemetery that disrupted the expansion of the border strip were reburied. The facades of the houses served only as the foremost barrier wall of the death strip until they were completely demolished. Free sight and field of fire was to be created. The whole side of a street was a no man's land. Houseless and human-free.

The pictures of the fleeing border police officer, of the window leaps, of the tunnel escapes or the blown up Church of Reconciliation made the street famous all over the world. Today a large part of the former death strip is integrated into the Berlin Wall Memorial Site. More than a million visitors from all over the world come to Bernauer Strasse every year. A landscape of memory, a Pompeii of contemporary history.

Bernauer Strasse - a cinematic archaeology and reconstruction. Exclusive archive material, gripping stories of contemporary witnesses, of refugees, tunnel builders, residents … A historical search for traces on, with and for a mysterious place, where the history of the Berlin Wall is focused to this day like nowhere else. Exemplary, dramatic, unprecedented.