Stresow/Schnackenburg border memorial
- darkometer rating: 4 -
Comparatively minor border museums/memorials in Germany
that commemorate the former "Iron Curtain
" border separating the East (GDR
) from the West (FRG
) during the Cold War
There's a small "Grenzlandmuseum", 'border land museum' on the former Western side in Schnackenburg in Lower Saxony, which was once one of the West's most isolated corners, hemmed in by the GDR-border on three sides, one of them the river Elbe. The museum has various artefacts relating to border security on both sides. (Opening times: in March and April from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays to Fridays and 1 to 4 p.m. at weekends, and between May and October from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and Sundays, and from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.)
Stresow was the name of a village that was wiped off the map because it was located right on the border strip on the GDR
side, now Saxony-Anhalt. In 1972 the inhabitants were forcibly moved and all houses demolished by 1974. Today a memorial stone commemorates the site of the lost village.
In addition, there are various reconstructed border installations like fences, an observation bunker, and a patrol track, providing an approximation of an impression of what the border may have looked like back then.
South-west of this, a hiking trail follows the course of the former border. You can make out the former mine strip, remains of a border crossing checkpoint, border marker poles and even another old watchtower. A map is available at the museum in Schnackenburg.
Schnackenburg is in the easternmost corner of the Wendland region of Lower Saxony, on the southern bank of the river Elbe. The nearest larger settlement is Wittenberge a few miles upstream on the northern bank (where there is a bridge – Schnackenburg itself only has a small ferry river crossing).
The border memorial Stresow is south of Schnackenburg on the border with today's Saxony-Anhalt, just beyond the tiny village of Gummern off the B493 road.
You could walk the old border strip south and west of ex-Stresow from here, or drive straight to the more interesting spot with the watchtower and former border marker by the road between Nienwalde and Bömenzien, where the border strip dips south into the forest.