KING TOUR

Bernauer Straße   Martin    Luther    King,    Jr.    and    Ralph    Abernathy    visit    the    northern-    eastern    part    of    the „Bernauer   Straße"   during   their   tour   through   the   city.   On   the   West-Berlin   side   were   made different   viewing   platforms   along   the   wall,   so   people   from   West-Berlin   could   see   for example    their    friends    or    family    in    East-Berlin.    To    shut    down    this    „contact“,    the    DDR authorities   built   high   view-covers   made   out   of   wood.   One   of   these   viewing   platforms   was placed   at   „Bernauer   Straße"   corner   „Schwedter   Straße"   (at   the   hight   of   the   Mauerpark). King   and   Abernathy   let   Werner   Steltzer   (director   of   the   Berlin   information   center)   tell them about the borderline and a lot about the history of the „Bernauer Straße". While   the   Berlin   Wall   gets   built,   some   of   the   most   dramatic   scenes   take   place   at   the „Bernauer   Straße".   Already   three   days   after   the   wall   gets   started   building,   the   entries   of the   buildings   in   the   „Bernauer   Straße"   gets   brick   up   by   the   boarding   police.   Because   of their   diparacion,   the   people   jump   out   of   the   windows   or   lower   down   on   bedsheets. Families   and   friends   get   divided   by   night.   All   apartment   buildings   are   forced   to   be   left. The windows get bricked. From 1965 the gradually demolition follows. 1961   the   protestant   reconciliation-church   gets   confirmed   as   restricted   area   and   1985   gets blown   up.   Often   people   try   to   reach   West-Berlin   by      using   escape   tunnel.   Just   at   the „Bernauer Straße,“ there are 11 escape tunnel. The   moving   history   of   the   „Bernauer   Straße"   and   building   of   the   wall   is   documented   on the   1,4   km   long   street   itself.   Information   boards,   audio   pillars   and   the   reconstruction   of one   part   of   the   wall   as   a   central   memorial   place   give   visitors   countless   impressions.   The memorial   of   the   Berlin   Wall,   which   is   located   „Bernauer   Straße“   corner   „Gartenstraße“, completes this offer with a lot of events.

Waldbühne

Before   King   drives   at   three   o’clock   to   the   „Waldbühne“,   he   gets   welcomed   by   the   West- Berlin   senator   of   culture   Dr.   Werner   Stein   at   the   academy   of   arts.   At   the   „Waldbühne“ already   20.000   people   meet   up   for   the   „day   of   churches“.   Besides   religious   dignitaries   as bishop   Otto   Dibelius,   also   there   are   political   visitors   like   mayor   Willy   Brandt   and   the Federal   Minister   of   the   Interior   Erich   Lemmer.   Otto   Dibelius   emphasizes   throughout   his speech: „We have to say as christians: For our soul bliss the wall has to go away.“ After   the   event   Martin   Luther   King,   Jr.   gets   awarded   by   him   with   the   honorable   doctor degree of the theological college Berlin. The   „Waldbühne“   (former   „Dietrich   Eckart   Bühne“)   itself   was   built   between   1934-36.   In   its shape   she   looks   like   open-air   platforms   of   ancient      greek   amphitheaters   and   should   have been   used   by   the   National   Socialists,   together   with   the   „Reichsportfeld“   ,   as   a   cultural theater   and   leisure   time   center.   Originally   the   great   ranks   were   supposed   to   fit   100.000 seats   (after   the   wish   of   the   Minister   of   Propaganda   Goebbels)   -   actually   only   22.290   seats were   built.   During   the   olympic   games   1936   the   competitions   in   gymnastics   were   taking place at the „Waldbühne“ - later also boxing-events. Firstly   after   World   War   two,   the   stage   also   got   used   for   large   events.   Especially   the   Rolling -Stone   concert   at   the   15th   of   september   1965   is   legendary,   when   the   „Waldbühne“   got demolished.    The    police    evacuated    the    location    with    water    cannons.    Today    mostly concerts are taking place at the „Waldbühne“.

Checkpoint Charlie

Martin   Luther   King,   Jr.      is   invited   to   a   church   service   in   the   evening   in   the   Marienkirche   on 13th    September    1964.    Together    with    Ralph    Zorn    (priest    of    the    Friedenskirche    in    the “Bernauer   Straße”)   and   his   local   assistant   Dr.   Scott,   King   goes   in   the   church   company   car to   the   checkpoint   Charlie   in   Friedrichstrasse.   Because   Ralph   Zorn   is   inhabitant   of   New York   by   birth   and   owns   an   American   passport,   he   has   the   possibility   to   oscillate   between     east and west. Zorn   and   Dr.   Scott   leave   the   car   and   proceed   to   the   border   policemen.   They   explain   that her   "colleague"   has   forgotten   his   passport   in   Berlin   west,   but   the   border   policeman, doesn’t   let   them   pass.   The   US   department   really   had   taken   the   passport   to   prevent   a possible    trip    in    the    GDR.    Finally,    according    to    the    protocol    of    the    border    police    an untersecond   lieutenant   recognisises   Martin   Luther   King   jr.   and   makes   an   announcement to   his   superior.   As   a   result   the   border   policemen   „require   at   all   another   passport“   for legitimization. Back   in   the   car,   Martin   Luther   King,   Jr.   searches   for   documents   that   proove   that   he’s American.   In   his   purse   he   finds   a   bank   map   of   American   Express   .   With   this   “cheque identity   card   of   the   USA   (like   an   identity   card)”   -   quotation   from   the   border   protocol   -   King and his company enter against 19.52 to East Berlin. The   checkpoint   Charlie   probably   is   one   of   the      best   known   border   crossings   between     east   and   west   Berlin.   After   the   building   of   the   Berlin   Wall   in   1961   the   checkpoint   beside Helmstedt    and    3    lime-trees    remains    the    third    internal    border    crossing    for    the    allied armed   forces,   foreigners   and   employees   of   the   constant   representation.   In   October,   1961 American   and   Soviet   tanks   were   confronted   in   Friedrichstrasse   and   the   third   world   war wasn’t   far   away.   Up   to   the   turn   the   small   border   checkpoint   “checkpoint   of   Charlie”   was extended   and   developed.   The   whole   arrangement   was   spread   place-like   and   provided with locking arrangements. More   often   the   border   crossing   was   also   used   as   an   escape   possibility   in   the   west.   In 1962 refugee Peter Fechter died near the Checkpoint Charlie.
Bernauer Straße in 1961 / pic: Landesarchiv Berlin 
Bernauer Str./ Schwedter Str. W. Steltzer, M.L. King, R. Abernathy September 12, 1964 / pic: Landesarchiv Berlin 
Checkpoint Charlie in 1961 / pic: Landesarchiv
Checkpoint Charlie shooting for King-Code mowie in 2013 / pic: king-code
Checkpoint Charlie 2013 / king-code
Waldbühne September 13, 1964 / pic: private Helbich 
students talked with witness Mrs. Helbich in 2013, pic: king-code