The Berlin Wall November 28, 1975 looking southeast

Potsdamer Platz in 1975

If you are interested in seeing what this photo would look like if taken in 2009, please see Umschauen's photo taken in the exact same location, here. His photo duplicates the wide angle in this shot.


The previous photo in my photo-stream is a close-up of the blocked off Potsdamer Platz subway (S-Bahn) entrance seen in this photo.


Potsdamer Platz was a wasteland in November 1975. The wall shown above is the third generation of the wall which began to be constructed during 1965. The one of which we normally think, the fourth and final version, began to be constructed in 1975 and finished in 1980. Earlier versions were not as secure so they evolved until the fourth generation was in place. Below I will provide links to photos of the various versions of the wall and the buildings visible in my photo above.


Before the Wall

In 1959 the wall did not yet exist. There were only different “sectors” (Soviet, US, UK, and French). To cross from the East to West sectors, or vice versa, people were sometimes (not every person every time) required to show identification. A photo taken by Allhails at that time showing the East German police (Vopo – short for “Volks Polizei”) checking ID as people enter or exit the Potsdamer Platz S-Bahn station which was located within the Soviet sector.


Here is another picture from Allhails 1959-1960 set taken from the Soviet sector looking back at West Berlin. You can see the S-Bahn sign and the role of the white iron-pipe fence visible in the photo above before the wall was built. As seen here Postdamer Platz still functioned as an intersection in 1960.


A reverse shot from the photo mentioned above taken from the café in West Berlin looks back across what is shortly to become the “death-strip” or no-man’s-land. In it you can see some of the buildings (including Haus Vaterland and what is to become in the 21st century the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety at 128-130 Stresemannstrasse) visible in my photo in 1975.


There is a great shot from 1960 of Haus Vaterland and the base of the memorial to Karl Liebknecht. Both are visible in the photo shown on this page, however you may need to check the notes as the memorial is just a black square from this distance.



The Wall

According to Wikipedia through the years, the Berlin Wall evolved through four versions:

1. Wire fence (1961)

2. Improved wire fence (1962–1965)

3. Concrete wall (1965–1975)

4. Grenzmauer 75 (Border Wall 75) (1975–1989)



The Wire Fence (1961)

The initial roll-out of the fence/wall on August 13, 1961 was mainly barbed wire. Here you can see the East German (DDR) setting up the fence while West Berliners stand by watching. The odd thing here, for me at least, is how those from the West seem amused by the whole affair.


In addition to the barbed wire, streets were torn up and barricades erected to stop those in the east from fleeing in their vehicles as can be seen here.


It soon became apparent that barbed wire and guards alone were insufficient. If anyone had any doubts it was made painfully clear (to the DDR) on August 15, 1961 when Hans Conrad Schumann, an East German guard leapt to freedom as seen here.. Sadly, if you read the Wikipedia article, all did not end happily for Herr Schumann.


Improved wire fence 1962-1965

Allhails photo of Potsdamer Platz taken in 1962 shows how the original wire wall was improved by adding a concrete wall with barbed wire one top. This photo shows two of the structures in my 1975 photo: Haus Vaterland and the building at 128-130 Stresemannstr. You will see the U-Bahn entrance shown in the 1960 photo mentioned above now stands in the middle of the “death strip” and has been consequently sealed.


Another difference between 1975 and 1962 is that until 1971 Haus Vaterland was in the Soviet sector. If you look closely at this 1962 photo you can see the wall (center of photo in the distance) comes down what is today Stresemannstrasse and then turns south to wrap around Haus Vaterland and includes the structure in no-man’s-land. By 1975 the wall cuts across in front of Haus Vaterland probably over top of the U-Bahn entrance shown in 1960 and 1962.


Explore #42

  • Constant 6y

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called BCA - Brutalist Communist Architecture, and we'd love to have this added to the group!
  • Constant 6y

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Communist prisons, and we'd love to have this added to the group!
  • feelix 6y

    This is how that place looked in May 1989:
    Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, May 1989 by feelix
  • Asilanom 6y

    Great shot!
  • Andreas (no-nick) 6y

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Enclaves and exclaves, and we'd love to have this added to the group!
  • jorge dragón 6y

    Very descritive information and notes of the space we see in the image,

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Archivos de la Frontera-Borderline Archives, and we'd love to have this added to the group!
  • Peter Gutierrez 6y

    Ich bin ein Berliner.
  • SiranZhan 6y

    Dear Edward,

    My name's Siran and I'm a student studying at Singapore Management University.

    My class is going to hold an exhibition in our school on 9th Nov (next Monday) about the fall of the Berlin Wall to commemorate its 20th anniversary. I find some of your photos from here very interesting and relevant and would like to have them at our exhibition. I wonder if I can have your permission to do so? We will definitely credit you and your website below the photo.

    I hope to hear your positive response soon!

  • jos.santana80 6y

    Algo es algo
  • Andreas Helke 5y

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Amazing Image: Berlin, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

    This is the invitation into one of the groups of the Amazing Image series.

    This group is part of a series that invites some of the most amazing images found on flickr to create high quality group pools concentrating on a narrow topic in each group. (The detailed explanation.)

  • melenama 5y

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Germany by tips4travels, and we'd love to have this added to the group!
  • daniez79 5y

    Postdamer Platz by daniez79

    Bellissimo scatto
  • worldidentitylab 5y

    Special Photo-Project on BERLIN

    Hi, I’m Florian, I work for the World Identity Lab, an international creative platform.
    I contact you, because we are currently running a photo-project about Berlin.
    It is not just about nice pictures of Berlin. We are searching for people’s “very special places“ in Berlin. By that we mean a certain place that has become a very important meaning to a person through a very personal experience.
    Our aim is to publish a very unusual online-map full of people’s “special places” from different cities, because we believe that traveling through cities must be very exciting when you can visit such personal places (and know the story behind), that are not marked in the usual tourist guides! Here are two good examples from Oslo and Warsaw:

    Oslo Oil Station (by Lukas Desimone) by worldidentitylab

    Ursynów, Warsaw (by Marcin Nowicki) by worldidentitylab

    We invite you to send us your “special place” and tell us why it’s so special to you.
    For further details please visit:

    In case you have any questions write a mail to
    We look forward to receiving your contribution!
    Best, Florian
  • B&WPhotog 5y

    This is absolutely fantastic, a treasure in terms of very significant history. Thanks for posting.
  • Bahnexperte 4y

    Very interesting picture!
  • Da Vinci Frog 4y

    Ein großartiges Foto !

    Great shot - made in Germany or Austria !


    Post 1 - Comment 1

    1 Foto schicken – 1 Foto kommentieren
  • Art Of...(I say goodbye for a long time) 4y

    Ein großartiges Foto !

    Great shot - made in Germany or Austria !

    Post 1 - Comment 1
  • Josef Lex (back after making a lot of experiences) 4y

    Ein großartiges Foto !

    Great shot - made in Germany or Austria !


    Post 1 - Comment 1

    1 Foto schicken – 1 Foto kommentieren
    Da sieht man noch Überreste vom Zweiten Weltkrieg!
  • Forever_22 4y

    Großartiges Foto aus Deutschland / Österreich !

    Great shot taken in Germany / Austria !

    Zeitdokument !


    Hooksiel Old School - Alte Schule

    Post 1 - comment 1 +

    Schicke 1, kommentiere 1 +


    Neue Mitglieder sind willkommen !

    We do like to have new members !


  • Scott 2y

    An amazing capture.
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