Global hot spot
Our museum is located in former residential and commercial spaces. One room used to be the Café Köln. After the Wall was constructed the café had hardly any guests other than photographers and journalists.
On 13 August 1961 Checkpoint Charlie became a hot spot: from the first American tanks in late August 1961 and the tank stand-off in October of that year, the death of Peter Fechter, the visit by American President John F. Kennedy, to the fall of the Wall on 9 November 1989, the demolition of the Allied control barracks and their reconstruction as a memorial.
Our museum was founded and constructed as part of a free civilian initiative by Dr. Rainer Hildebrandt. It opened on 14 June 1963.
Today everyone feels at home at Checkpoint Charlie. It is how people move toward a place they are proud of. It is how people advocate for a history that they also consider to be their own. The Americans, Brits and French remember the days when they stood for a free Berlin at this spot. The citizens of the Eastern European nations think of Checkpoint Charlie as the end of the Wall and of the Iron Curtain, and remember the victims claimed by the fight for freedom. People still living in divided countries, in Israel, Palestine, North and South Korea, Ireland, Cyprus, dream of a peaceful coexistence. And Checkpoint Charlie is a place of freedom for all, a place where world history is manifest.