Contrary to popular belief, the border between East and West Berlin did not run directly along the western face of the Berlin Wall. In fact, the westernmost edge of the Wall was built entirely inside DDR territory 1.98 m away from the official border.

Photo taken by a Berlin photographer, Willy Pragher, on the corner of Luckauer Straße and Sebastianstraße on June 9, 1965. Notice the sign informing that the pavement is part of the Soviet territory. (image via Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg, Staatsarchiv Freiburg)

The reasoning was simple: by constructing the wall inside the Soviet sector, the DDR authorities made it impossible for the Western Allies to remove it. Any attempts to take down the wall would have involved moving Western forces into Soviet territory and thus been considered a declaration of war. In practical terms, however, the two metre strip between the wall and the west led to a curious…

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By penwithlit

Freelance writer and radio presenter

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