White Crosses

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The original memorial with Berlin Wall in the background, 1990

White Crosses (in German: Weiße Kreuze) is a memorial for those who died during the Cold War at the Berlin Wall. It is located at the shore of the river Spree in Berlin next to the Reichstag building, which houses the German parliament. Established by the private group Berliner Bürger-Verein on the 10th anniversary of the Berlin Wall in 1971 it was first located east of the Reichstag on a fence directly in front of the wall. After the German reunification in 1990 it kept its location until construction of the new government buildings next to the Reichstag was started at the end of that century – Berlin was chosen to be the new capital of Germany.<ref name="bwk">berlin.de: “Weisse Kreuze” memorial / German Bundestag</ref>

During construction the memorial was moved to a location south of the Reichstag next to the Tiergarten. On the 50th anniversary of the Uprising of 1953 in East Germany it was moved to the new location on the riverbank, which is slightly north-west of its original location. The opening speech was given by then President of the Bundestag Wolfgang Thierse.

Victim's names

The names of 13 victims are inscribed on both sides of the 7 crosses. One cross is devoted to the unknown victims of the wall.<ref name="bwk"/> The selection contains the first and last victim who were killed by gunfire. Most of the victims died between 1961 and 1965.

  • Günter Litfin, August, 24th 1961
  • Udo Düllick, October, 5th 1961
  • Hans Räwel, January, 1st 1963
  • Klaus Schröter, November, 4th 1963
  • Heinz Sokolowski, November, 25th 1965
  • Marienetta Jirkowsky, November, 22nd 1980
  • „den unbekannten Opfern an der Mauer“ (German: to the unknown victims of the wall)
  • Werner Probst, October, 14th 1961
  • Ingo Krüger, December, 10th 1961
  • Philipp Held, April, 11th 1962
  • Axel Hannemann, June, 5th 1962
  • Lutz Haberlandt, June, 27th 1962
  • Wolf-Olaf Muszinski, March 1963
  • Chris Gueffroy, February, 5th 1989



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