Media related to Grenzübergang Helmstedt-Marienborn at Wikimedia Commons, Coordinates: 52°12′56″N 11°04′52″E / 52.215514°N 11.081044°E / 52.215514; 11.081044, Learn how and when to remove this template message, Halt! Checkpoint Alpha foi o posto de controlo fronteiriço de Helmstedt–Marienborn (em alemão: Grenzübergang Helmstedt-Marienborn), chamado Grenzübergangsstelle Marienborn (GÜSt) (fronteira cruzando Marienborn) pela República Democrática Alemã (RDA). Due to its geographical location, allowing for the shortest land route between West Germany and West Berlin, most transit traffic to and from West Berlin used the Helmstedt-Marienborn crossing. This illegal time was by a US lady in British E type Jaguar. That changed in 1973, when the GDR was admitted to the United Nations, but the term remained in use. Die Nomenklatur Checkpoint für Kontrollpunkt ergibt sich im Gegensatz zu der DDR-Bezeichnung Grenzübergangsstelle (GÜSt) daraus, dass von westlicher Seite aus die völkerrechtliche Legitimität als Staatsgrenze nicht anerkannt wurde. The experience was truly memorable–and pretty nerve-wracking. The temporary blocks on the road surface, laid coarsely next to each other, made the car thud with the regularity of a muffled ticking clock, not soporifically, but angrily. Additional points of interest include the car entry area and passport control, the control tower and the inspection garage. The imposed speed limit described by Margaret Coffey did not apply to British or French travellers. You were required to check in with them so they could log your arrival. We were told the time we should reach Berlin (based on the time we left Helmstedt) and warned that if we reached Checkpoint Bravo too soon, we would receive a speeding ticket, as that would be proof that we had exceeded the 40 mph speed limit. History It served as entry point to the Autobahn that lead through East Germany into West-Berlin. Ein Kurzfilm über den ehemaligen Checkpoint Alpha der heute ein Museum und Mahnmal zugleich ist. The checkpoint was the nearest motorway border crossing point to the Helmstedt–Marienborn border crossing ("Checkpoint Alpha") on the border of West Germany, making it part of the shortest highway transit route between West Germany and West Berlin. […] Alpha was in the British side. Era o maior e mais importante posto de fronteira da fronteira interna alemã durante a divisão da Alemanha. Under the division of Germany into zones and Berlin into sectors, Allied troops travelling from West Germany to Berlin first encountered Checkpoint Alpha at the German-German border. The former GDR buildings have been a listed building since October 1990, however the former GDR departures area has been demolished when the A 2 road was expanded to six lanes. The final stop for Allied travelers on the Berlin-Helmstedt autobahn from West Berlin was Allied Checkpoint Alpha in Helmstedt, West Germany. The Western Allies kept control of their checkpoint on the western side, with small garrisons of French, British and American troops stationed in Helmstedt. We have considered that as us youngsters of the sixties are now in our 70’s this would be a final one off chance for us survivors of this period of the Cold War to get together. - See 13,387 traveler reviews, 7,998 candid photos, and great deals for Berlin, Germany, at Tripadvisor. Checkpoint Alpha. I was a young British MP who worked at Allied checkpoint Alpha between July 1965 to May 1968. Its scope included the interzonal railway traffic as well as the motor vehicle traffic on the Reichsautobahn between Hanover and Berlin. It is intended as a place of remembrance and education. / Mit der Nutzung dieses Formulars erklärst du dich mit der Speicherung und Verarbeitung deiner Daten durch diese Website einverstanden. Her new borders were decided at the Potsdam Conference in 1945, nine weeks after Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender. The Memorial to the Division of Germany in Marienborn (Gedenkstätte Deutsche Teilung Marienborn) was opened on the site of the former East German control point at Checkpoint Alpha in 1996. The checkpoint buildings were located directly on the zones' border, and consisted of little more than temporary wooden buildings. The name Checkpoint Alpha was consistently applied to the combined “Allied” (US, British, & French) facility. Food, gas and lodging can be obtained at the NAAFI (Navy, Army, Air … The first Allied control point at Helmstedt was opened on 1 July 1945 between the British and Soviet zones. Der Checkpoint Bravo war einer von drei durch die USA genutzten alliierten Kontrollpunkten im geteilten Deutschland bzw. Border guards could be painstakingly thorough in their searches, which meant long waits and sometimes a car being taken to pieces (and possibly left that way). Folk lore however has it that the minimum time taken and an unsubstantiated record was circa 58 minutes including processing by both Russian checkpoints. The road surface wasn’t up to the best US or European highway standards, but it was well maintained. No one (other than the author here) ever referred to either of the civilian processing centers as “Checkpoint Alpha” — and no one ever called the Soviet military checkpoint by that name either. The crossing interrupted the Bundesautobahn 2 (A 2) between the junctions Helmstedt-Ost and Ostingersleben. Helmstadt Support Detachment. The checkpoint was the nearest motorway border crossing point to the Helmstedt-Marienborn border crossing ("Checkpoint Alpha") on the border of West Germany, making it part of the shortest highway transit route between West Germanyand West Berlin. A checkpoint was established on the site on 1 July 1945, which was on the demarcation line between the British and Soviet occupation zones. Happy to contribute further if required. Checkpoint Charlie was designated as crossing point for foreigners and members of the Allied forces. The memorial is operated by the state of Saxony-Anhalt and features exhibitions and guided tours. To West Germans it was Kontrollpunkt Helmstedt, to East Germans, Grenzübergangsstelle Marienborn, but outside Germany, the inner German border crossing point was most commonly referred to by the name given to it by the Allied powers, Checkpoint Alpha. The checkpoint Alpha of my period, which at the time was located on the central reservation of the autobahn was I am told demolished when the autobahn was realigned. I was stationed in West Germany during 1962-1963 and passed through this checkpoint (and Checkpoint Alpha) many times on the way to Berlin and back. The East German side of this checkpoint was turned into a museum in 1996, not necessarily UE at its purist but still a good place to stop on the way into (or out of) Berlin and take a look at the … This coin is 1 5/8 inches in diameter. The control portal was staffed with as many as 1,000 passport control, customs and border police employees. The Grenzdenkmal Hötensbleben – a 350m long border memorial 18km to the south – was incorporated into the Gedenkstätte Deutsche Teilung Marienborn in 2004 (more on that in a future post). BTW, we were instructed not to stop or pay any attention to the East German checkpoints- only the Allied and Soviet ones. I have been carrying some research in readiness to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the final closure of Checkpoint Alpha in 2020. The American MP’s at Helmstedt prepared us for driving the Autobahn to Berlin, at 40 mph! While military travelers were not authorized to use any of the exits, there certainly were exits at many points along the road – in fact, one of the problems occasionally encountered was when a military traveler would use of the exits – sometimes this caused the traveler to encounter East German police, other times the traveler might make it back onto the autobahn corridor and no one would know unless the traveler mentioned it when processing through the checkpoint. Friedrich Christian Delius and Peter Joachim Lapp, This page was last edited on 25 October 2020, at 08:41. geteilten Berlin. This link (HERE) sums it up much better than I can, and they have some pretty cool photos […], […] out the famous Checkpoint Charlie. The Checkpoint Alpha had already been up and running for 5 years at this point, and the soviets decided to fine alternatives to restrict the people flow in and out of Berlin. The Helmstedt-Marienborn checkpoint was one of three checkpoints used by the Western Allies. …it was a frightening road. We were also told that we should insist on speaking to a Russian officer, not to East German police, the reason being that the US did not officially recognize East Germany at the time. One hundred miles further east, along a 1930s-vintage autobahn, came Checkpoint Bravo which funnelled them into the south-western tip of the US sector of Berlin. Around 1,000 people worked here – passport control and custom officers, East German border troops and civilian employees. The most important inner-German checkpoint, the Autobahn crossing at Helmstedt was named Alpha by the Western Allies. The MP’s recorded our odometer readings, and we were told not to leave the Autobahn for any reason, and we were shown slides of the two Autobahn exits we would encounter and were given our odometer readings at those exits with firm instructions not to leave the Autobahn at those exits. Its scope included the interzonal railway traffic as well as the motor vehicle traffic on the Reichsautobahn between Hanover and Berlin. Checkpoint Alpha: Das ABC der Berliner Grenzübergänge. Allied Checkpoint Alpha . Its western side (in the former British zone) was labeled Checkpoint Alpha after the first letter of the NATO phonetic alphabet. Crossing inspections were nerve-racking affairs even for those who knew that they had done nothing wrong. I think the speed limit was so low because the American forces did not want the East Germans to have an excuse for ticketing us. Für Westdeutsche war es Kontrollpunkt Helmstedt, für Ostdeutsche, Grenzübergangsstelle Marienborn, aber außerhalb Deutschlands wurde der innerdeutsche Grenzübergang am häufigsten mit dem Namen bezeichnet, der ihm von den Alliierten gegeben wurde – Checkpoint Alpha. Checkpoint Alpha was located in the town of Helmstedt in the state of Lower Saxony (West Germany). The checkpoint was shifted slightly during 1969 from Drewitz (part of Potsdam), after the East German authorities realigned the transit route to eliminate a brief re-entry into GDR territory before transit traffic could finally enter West Berlin. A minimum time limit of 2 hours and maximum of 4 hours was applied instead. The connection between these checkpoints gained its importance from being the shortest connection between the western zones and Berlin, at 170 km (110 miles). But outside of Germany the inner German border crossing was most often referred to by the name that was given to it by the Allies: ‘Checkpoint Alpha’. Allied Checkpoint Alpha at Helmstedt. An expanded control area was built by East Germany in 1972 on a 35-hectare site near Marienborn. During the Berlin Blockade, which endured from June 1948 to May 1949, the Soviet checkpoint was closed. It was very stylised, I think seeing the larger and abandoned Checkpoint Alpha was much better. The checkpoint marked the beginning or end of a 170km (110 mile) drive along a walled or fenced motorway through East Germany with no available exits for travellers between West Germany and West Berlin or vice versa. The border crossing existed from 1945 to 1990 and was situated near the East German village of Marienborn at the edge of the Lappwald. It is now located in the Allied Museum in … The checkpoint buildings were located directly on the zones' border, and consisted of little more than temporary wooden buildings. Berlin summers can be as stiflingly hot as its winters are brutally cold so a map of the Berlin drinking fountains, where water is available for free, could come in very handy. At Checkpoint Alpha on the west end of the autobahn to Berlin is the Helmstedt Support Detachment. The rest of the instructions were still the same, although repeat travelers generally didn’t get the whole speech. Mixing the civilian (East & West German) and military (US/UK/FR/USSR) checkpoints gives a totally confusing and inaccurate portrait, because no traveler used both the military and civilian checkpoints. The West German buildings near Helmstedt have either been demolished or are now used for other purposes. The new checkpoin… Please see pictures. I’m a big fan of a Wegbier to quench my thirst while exploring Berlin and beer in Berlin is generally cheaper than water […] 45 years after it first opened, the border crossing officially ceased controls when the social and economic systems of East and West Germany were united on 1 July 1990. Hier Grenze - Auf den Spuren der innerdeutschen Grenze, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Helmstedt–Marienborn_border_crossing&oldid=985323518, Articles lacking sources from November 2014, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. The road was only “fenced” to the same extent as any ‘autobahn’ was fenced. We were given a packet of papers and instructed that if we were stopped by the Polizei we should give the packet to a passing West German or American car. While the events of November 9, 1989, signaled the end of a divided Berlin, Checkpoint Charlie remained in operation until seven months later, when its … Checkpoint Alpha war die west-alliierte Seite des Grenzüberganges Helmstedt-Marienborn und Checkpoint Charlie der alliierte Grenzkontrollpunkt innerhalb Berlins. Processing in the 1980’s was a bit less formal than what Ms Coffey described of her trip in 1964. The Memorial to the Division of Germany in Marienborn at the former Checkpoint Alpha is open Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 to 17:00 (check the website for current opening hours) and presents a valuable reminder of the infrastructure that was required to control history’s most notorious border. Its western side (in the former British zone) was labeled Checkpoint Alpha after the first letter of the NATO spelling alphabet. If I may I would like to put my twopenny worth in. All went well, and we had no problems reaching Berlin, but the leadup to the trip was pretty impressive. The bumpy ride and claustrophobic route weren’t the end of the ordeal though. Most travel routes from West Germany to East Germany and Poland also used this crossing. Condition: Used and in good condition. By then we were no longer recording odometer readings, and the minimum time for the trip was down to 2 hours, allowing a somewhat quicker trip. The nomenclature of "checkpoint", as opposed to the East German "Grenzübergangsstelle" (which literally means "border-crossing-place") was a result of the Western Allies not recognising the legitimacy of East Germany as a state. Due to the increasing tensions between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the border crossing was expanded extensively and security was increased during the following years. On the other hand, if we didn’t check in at Checkpoint Bravo at the appointed time, the military police would come looking for us. The Allied side of the checkpoint for entry into West Berlin was named Checkpoint Bravo, and Checkpoint Charlie was the Allied checkpoint for entry into (and exit from) East Berlin. The checkpoint was shifted slightly during 1969 from Drewitz (part of Potsdam), after the East German authorities realigned the transit route to … On the grounds of the former East German border control buildings, the "Gedenkstätte Deutsche Teilung Marienborn" was opened on August 13, 1996. Border controls were relaxed after the Wende during late 1989. A rest stop with a motel has now been built on part of the old GDR control portal's area. Gateway To Berlin . The checkpoint at Helmstedt-Marienborn, along with its counterparts in Berlin, Checkoint Bravo at Dreilinden and Checkpoint Charlie on Friedrichstrasse, was one of the most important border crossings of the Cold War. Army Challenge Coin . This was the only Autobahn that could to get to West-Berlin by land. It showed what it was like trying to cross border […]. A checkpoint was established on the site on 1 July 1945, which was on the demarcation line between the British and Soviet occupation zones. Checkpoint Alpha Compared to the German Reich of the 1930’s and early 1940’s, post-war Germany was a geographically emaciated state. I just finished ” The Berlin Wall,” by Frederick Taylor, and parts of it reminded me of the trip friends and I–all teachers at Heidelberg American High School– took in 1964 at Easter time (as I recall) from Heidelberg to Berlin via Helmstedt. I can’t speak for the entire fifty-odd years of the Autobahn Corridor, but I will say that the description offered here is considerably more bleak and depressing than the actual roadway, at least as of the early 1980’s when I was NCOIC of the US Helmstedt Support Detachment traveled that road regularly. The border crossing existed from 1945 to 1990 and was situated between the villages Marienborn and Helmstedt. However, the original checkpoint was eventually regarded too unsafe to operate efficiently. The memorial site is accessible via the nearby rest stop's exit and can only be explored on foot. The name Checkpoint Charlie comes from the NATO phonetic alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie). Checkpoint Alpha was located in the town of Helmsted, It served as entry point to the Autobahn that leads through East Germany into West-Berlin. The allied duty trains also stopped at Helmstedt. Comment document.getElementById("comment").setAttribute( "id", "a92b9493db43e2cd05bdec99163d1f72" );document.getElementById("c24011c332").setAttribute( "id", "comment" ); By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website. From 1950 onwards, the East German Grenzpolizei (later the Grenztruppen der DDR) performed the border control on the eastern side of the checkpoint, with the exception of the Soviet military, which escorted Allied military traffic to and from West Berlin. There is another exhibition, Customs of the GDR, which focuses on the technical process for customs checks at the border crossing, in the former customs control area. The restrictive East German controls and the ever-increasing amount of traffic soon resulted in notable waiting times on the West German side. I am sorry I cannot add specific dates as I am still carrying out research. Checkpoint Alpha: The ABC of Berlin Checkpoints - Berlin Love I to visited the site of the former Marienborn checkpoint museum Whilst much of it still exists it bears no resemblance to said checkpoint of my era. The Helmstedt-Marienborn checkpoint was one of three checkpoints used by the Western Allies. *, Checkpoint Alpha: Das ABC der Berliner Grenzübergänge, Gedenkstätte Günter Litfin – A Watchtower Turned Memorial, Tag der Deutschen Einheit (The Day of German Unity), What I learned about Berlin History | No Tour Guide Needed, Europe 2016 | Day 15 | Berlin – ciao today. Between 1972 and 1974, the GDR erected a new control portal on a 35-hectare (86-acre) field situated on a hill near Marienborn, about 1.5 km (1,600 yards) east of the border. Other Allied checkpoints on the Autobahn to the West were Checkpoint Alpha at Helmstedt and Checkpoint Bravo at Dreilinden. The crossing was dismantled at midnight on June 30, 1990, exactly 45 years after its first opening. The West German Bundesgrenzschutz had assumed control of the operative controls on the western side of the border crossing, where the buildings were notably smaller compared with Marienborn. The buildings were linked with a tunnel system through which military or police units could reach the control portal quickly and secretly. Having spoken to German friends about journeys along the transit road I think the following quote from Philip Hensher’s Berlin novel, Pleasured sums up what was an unpleasant and unsettling experience. I certainly remember the area surrounding the checkpoint was pretty bleak in Winter put was not so in the Summer. The Helmstedt-Marienborn checkpoint was one of three checkpoints used by the Western Allies. It was as I understand from the archivist of the Helmstedt zonal border museum had been moved from the original location on the border to its new location so its operation could not be seen from the West. Its counterpart in the Berlin southern borough of Dreilinden was named Bravo. Although each nation’s military travelers were processed by military personnel from their own country, all three were always co-located in a single facility within a few feet of the border. East Germans named it ‘Grenzübergangsstelle Marienborn’.
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