Eichsfeld border land museum
- darkometer rating: 5 -
Yet another of Germany
's border museums on the former Iron Curtain
division line between the FRG
(West) and GDR
The Eichsfeld region used to be particularly heavily affected by the border, which cut straight through various communities so that even brothers and sisters were separated and unable to see each other.
The museum is entitled "Grenzlandmuseum", border land museum, i.e. it focuses not just on the border itself but also on the wider context of what it meant and to a degree still means to the surrounding lands, its people and nature.
The museum exhibitions are housed in a complex of buildings at a former border crossing checkpoint and customs station. Themes include: the history of the border and its fortifications, refugees, forced displacement of people, GDR
society, opening of the border in 1989 and more – all with an emphasis on the Eichsfeld region. All the texts in the museum are displayed in German and English, video clips of contemporary witnesses are subtitled.
In addition to the indoor exhibitions, the museum also has a few outdoor exhibits like border guard vehicles. The original checkpoint buildings add to the authenticity of the place.
The museum as such is complemented by an open-air part: along a 'border hiking trail' of 2½ miles (4 km) length in total a stretch of border has been preserved (mostly original) with border fence, lights, observation bunkers, "Hundelaufanlage" ('dog-run installation' – see Point Alpha
) and the obligatory watchtower, in this case actually a border guard command post (cf. Berlin Wall watchtowers
). Along the trail there is also a memorial dedicated to those who were mutilated or even lost their lives by mines or machine-gun fire while attempting to escape to the West. Just some 650 feet (200 m) from the museum you can find a wooden cross that commemorates a young East German who bleed to death at this spot after having activated a spring gun attached to the metal border fence.
Adjacent to the museum proper is also a documentation and education centre (aiming primarily at German schoolchildren and students, but also at international groups).
Guided tours in the exhibition or along the former border are possible in English, French and Spanish. Opening times:
Tuesdays to Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission:
4 EUR (3 EUR concession) Location:
on the B247 at Teistungen, Thuringia, a couple of miles south of Duderstadt, Lower Saxony, Germany
, some 25 miles (40 km) east of Göttingen; address: Duderstädter Straße 5, D-37339 Teistungen. Google maps locator:
photos courtesy of (and copyright by) Grenzlandmuseum Eichsfeld
- Eichsfeld 1 - observation bunker at the border hiking trail
- Eichsfeld 2 - observation tower at the former border crossing point
- Eichsfeld 3 - in the exhibition
- Eichsfeld 4 - part of the exhibition
- Eichsfeld 5 - surveillance technology
- Eichsfeld 6 - cross dedicated to a victim of the border
- Eichsfeld 7 - observation tower, illuminated
- Eichsfeld 8 - border hiking trail by night