The Berlin Wall enclosed West Berlin from August 13, 1961 to November 9, 1989, cutting a line through the entire city center. It was supposed to prevent East Berliners and citizens of East Germany from fleeing to the West, but the Wall was unable to entirely stop the mass of people from fleeing. Consequently, in 1961, the SED, the ruling Communist Party in East Germany, began adding more border fortifications to the Wall, creating a broad, many-layered system of barriers. In the West people referred to the border strip as the “death strip” because so many people were killed there while trying to flee. With the downfall of East Germany in 1989, the Berlin Wall that the SED had for so long tried to use to maintain its power, also fell. The fall of the Wall marked the definitive end of its dictatorship.
The Berlin Wall Memorial extends along both sides of the Bernauer Strasse and is currently undergoing expansion. On the border strip that had been located in East Berlin, an open-air exhibition uses the Bernauer Strasse to explain the history of division. The memorial also includes the Monument in Memory of the Divided City and the Victims of Communist Tyranny and the Window of Remembrance. The Chapel of Reconciliation is also a part of this ensemble.
On the other side of the street that belonged to the western part of the city, the newly constructed Visitor Center and the Documentation Center with a viewing platform and the exhibition about the time when the Berlin Wall was built in August 1961. Inside the Nordbahnhof S-Bahn station the exhibition “Border Stations and Ghost Stations in Divided Berlin” documents the impact that the Wall had on the city’s public transportation system.
(info text from http://www.berliner-mauer-dokumentationszentrum.de)