Luc Girouard

Checkpoint Charlie / Berlin

The name Checkpoint Charlie comes from the NATO phonetic alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie). After the border crossings at Helmstedt-Marienborn (Alpha) and Dreilinden-Drewitz (Bravo),
Checkpoint Charlie was the third checkpoint opened by the Allies in and around Berlin.

It became the most famous crossing point between East and West Germany. On 22 September 1961, Allied guards began registering members of the American, British and French forces before trips to East Berlin and foreign tourists could find out about their stay there. Once the checkpointwas designated a crossing point for members of the Allied armed forces, a month later in October 1961 it becamethe scene of a tank confrontation. American and Soviet tanks took up position and faced each other with weapons primed.

Checkpoint Charlie was not only an important Cold War site, but also witnessed numerous attempts to escape from East Berlin. An open air exhibition on the corner of Schützenstraße and Zimmerstraße tellsthe story of those that failed and those that succeeded. An installation by the artist Frank Thiel and a commemorative plate also mark the memorial.