Fall of the wall in green

Prignitz is not Checkpoint Charlie, not the Nikolaikirche in Leipzig and yet, even 30 years after the fall of the Wall, you can still find evidence of everyday life in the GDR, the political change and the border that tore Germany in half.

A trip to Prignitz - that can also be a journey through time. If you get off the train in Wittenberge and cycle on the dike to Lenzen, you will surmount a once insurmountable barrier unnoticed. In the Elbe Valley, the inner-German border ran from river kilometers 472.6 to 566.3. Today the UNESO Elbe-Brandenburg River Landscape Biosphere Reserve offers a unique flora and fauna on the natural, uneven river. The contrast between the thought of patrolling border boats and the now unobstructed view of the Elbe, peacefully glistening in the sun, with the ferry on it couldn't be greater. On the dike there is a lively activity of cyclists and here and there a stork struts across the meadows in search of food. At the Lenzen ferry pier there is one of the few remaining border towers from which border guards used to control the area. Today it serves as a lookout tower.

Blick vom Grenzturm bei Lenzen auf das Biosphärenreservat Flusslandschaft Elbe-BrandenburgFoto: Klauke Kleis

From the death strip to the lifeline - Green Belt

Watchtowers, border fences, mine systems, free field of vision and shooting range, dog patrols - the GDR's western border was as well secured as hardly any other border in the world.

From the death strip to the lifeline – Green Belt offers nature experiences on the former border

It was less important to defy the class enemy on the other side than to block the way for one's own citizens. 14 people lost their lives in the Prignitz border section alone trying to leave the GDR. The 21-year-old Hans-Georg Lemme from Groß Breese near Wittenberge made it to the middle of the river in 1974 before the propeller of a guard boat caught him. The skipper was acquitted after the turn for lack of evidence.

Fortunately, nature survived. Without a border, the Elbe might today be canalized just like the Rhine. As part of the “Green Belt” along the former zone border, the Elbe offers rare animal and plant species a protected habitat in the Elbe-Brandenburg River Landscape Biosphere Reserve. By relocating the dike at the so-called “Böse Ort”, a regularly flooded meadow wilderness has been created on over 400 hectares. The four-country corner Elbe-Altmark-Wendland is one of the three model regions of the “Green Belt Experience” project funded by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation and funds from the Federal Environment Ministry, which makes the fascinating natural treasures that were able to develop along the former inner-German border tangible. Three watchtowers, model buildings made of precast concrete parts, which the GDR border troops used as observation points, have stood the test of time. Two of them are under monument protection and are open to tourists.

Watchtowers on the Elbe dike:
Lenzen - right by the ferry, walk-in observation tower
Gandow - on the old dike, visits by arrangement on guided tours through the meadow wilderness
Cumlosen - not accessible

BUND Besucherzentrum Burg Lenzen
BUND Besucherzentrum Burg Lenzen
Burgstraße 3, 19309 Lenzen
Tel. +4938792/12 21
Fähre LenzenFoto: Tourismusverband Prignitz/Markus Tiemann

Bike tours to the Borderline experience

For brains and bums: east-west bike tour with a history stop - The borderland tour
Rather in the middle of the 52 km long borderland tour with start and finish in Wittenberge is Schnackenburg, spoken with a long a. Schnackenburg is the smallest and at the same time easternmost town in Lower Saxony and has another special feature: the Grenzlandmuseum. It is not surprising that people in this particular place in West Germany wanted a house of remembrance: A look at one of the large maps on the ground floor of the museum shows how close the border to the GDR, in the water and on the land, people are must have shaped here - Schnackenburg was virtually “surrounded” by the GDR in the northeastern tip of Lower Saxony.

Wendland and Prignitz travelers will find a piece of border fence at the original height of 3.20 m with a replica of a self-firing system on the first floor of the half-timbered house at the mouth of the Aland. Display boards illustrate the history of the elaborately designed structure of the security strip. The original “Russian stake” on the ground floor is a rarity. This type of border post in the colors red for the Soviet Union and blue for Great Britain marked the border between the zones of war winners from 1945 onwards.

If you want to know which journeys the approximately 5,000 museum visitors accept each year, you should have a good time looking at the map in the staircase with hundreds of pins.

Also worth seeing
Lanz is the birthplace of the gymnastics father Friedrich Ludwig Jahn. He was an important educator and writer of the early 19th century. The memorial in the small school is practically on the route of the Grenzlandtour.

Here you will find the route information for the borderland tour

Boundless beauty – foresight on the Lenzerwische Tour

Lenzerwische is the name given to the stretch of water between Löcknitz and Elbe. The well-secured border to the class enemy shaped the landscape here for 40 years. Today it is a cyclist's paradise. The residents of the Elbe villages led a life under constant observation, from 1972 the expanded metal fence also massively clouded the view of the Elbe.

The villages behind the dike are small: many abandoned farms have been demolished. The fact that the Kietz Church, which was wonderfully situated on a mound and formerly in the restricted area, still exists is thanks to the courageous actions of the residents: in 1999 they founded a support association for the church with the ailing roof structure, and the Kietz Church was completely open again on Christmas Eve. The Tietz family is happy to receive from the project in the “Café Kietz - Zur Alten Wecksternburg”. In the “Alter Hof am Elbdeich” in Unbesanten, searchers not only expect excellent food, but also the only opportunity to see the border fence. A photograph shows the depressing scenery on the dike.
In Mödlich, the fence material, which had become superfluous in 1989, was treated pragmatically: The expanded metal was suitable for a variety of purposes. In the “Café Elbeglück” a piece of it is in front of the house. As a doormat.

Café zur alten Wencksternburg
Café zur alten Wencksternburg
Ringstraße 3, 19309 Lenzerwische GT Kietz
Tel. +4938792/18 90
Mobile +49170/8 02 25 96
Café Elbeglück – Pension am Elbdeich
Café Elbeglück – Pension am Elbdeich
Lenzener Straße 13, 19309 Mödlich
Tel. +4938792/77 90
Alter Hof am Elbdeich
Alter Hof am Elbdeich
Am Elbdeich 25, 19309 Unbesandten
Tel. +4938758/3 57 80
Beobachtungen an der Elbe während einer WandertourFoto: Tourismusverband Prignitz/Lukas Häuser

Hiking tours to the border experience

Circular hiking trail meadow experience

Alluvial forests in the middle of the water and a fascinating variety of rare water birds - this is how a piece of lively river landscape is presented to you right outside the gates of the city of Lenzen. Discover the meadow wilderness on a 14-kilometer hiking tour over the Elbe dike and a former ferry dam. Depending on the season, the thousandfold concert of frogs and toads determines the air, the call of wild geese, the trumpeting of the cranes or the melancholy melody of the whooper swans. If you want to experience river nature up close, you've come to the right place: where the Elbe dike was relocated in recent years to give the Elbe back lost floodplains, a unique habitat for many rare plants and animals was created on 400 hectares. From the elevated Elbe dike you get fascinating insights into the new meadow wilderness. The “Auenblick” observation stand invites you to linger and stow.

Fähre Lütkenwisch – Schnackenburg

Overcoming boundaries: history in the river – Ilka connects what belongs together

A ferry connection between Lütkenwisch and Schnackenburg has been handed down to the beginning of the 17th century. In 1945 “the Russian” violently put an end to ferry traffic - getting to the other side was impossible from then on cause the inner-German border ran right in the middle of the river. After the fall of the Wall, the Schnackenburger Klaus Reineke bought a ferry in Holland in 1991. Since September 7, 1991, Ilka has been connecting what belongs together again.

Within the first eleven months, Reineke personally took over all shifts and witnessed countless emotional moments: people fell around their necks and did not want to let go of each other. Business flourished, and the need to step onto the sorely missed other shore was enormous. A memorial was erected during his lifetime to the skilled inland skipper and later customs officer who was born during the war: at the Schnackenburg ferry terminal, a not to be overlooked sign reminds of the abolition of the inhuman separation of a continent.

The Ilka runs daily, provided the water level is right. With a little luck you can see Klaus Reineke, who has been retired since 2004, as a temporary helper at the wheel in the summer months.

Fährbetrieb Lütkenwisch – Schnackenburg
Fährbetrieb Lütkenwisch – Schnackenburg
Mobile +49151/61 64 01 99
Fährbetrieb Pevestorf-Lenzen
Fährbetrieb Pevestorf-Lenzen
Mobile +49151/59 40 68 12

Also worth seeing
Arrived in Wendland, just a minute's walk from the Schnackenburg pier, is the Grenzlandmuseum. A piece of border fence with a self-firing system and countless exhibits keep the memory of 40 years of the inner-German border alive. Just ten minutes away by bike, the Stresow memorial is reminiscent of the village of the same name, which was completely wiped out in 1974 by the GDR state authorities as part of the “Aktion Ungeziefer”.


GDR History Museum in the Perleberg Documentation Center

Hans Peter Freimark fought against oblivion in Perleberg. The former pastor set himself the goal of documenting the realities of life in the GDR in order to prevent a gleaned or distorted picture in retrospect. Lovable things from daily life between the Elbe and the Oder are just as much a part of it as evidence of a system that mercilessly pursued any self-determined deviation from everyday life.

Who still remembers today the banners that used to adorn the gray rows of houses with statements such as “Marx's teaching is omnipotent because it is true” or the serious song “ Die Partei, die Partei, die hat immer recht” ? Exhibitions on the topics of the state, bloc parties, mass organizations, state security, schools, consumption and housing are ready, others are in preparation. Touching many objects is expressly permitted. An extensive library supplements the offer, and there are regular lecture evenings. On October 7th, the national holiday of the GDR, and on May 1st, flags will take place and in the museum café there is the ideal combination: traditional cakes and coffee from the GDR.

Freimark lived for the museum until the end of his life in 2020, never hiding anything. Now his wife is continuing it in this sense. Nowhere else can you get as much information about the GDR as here.

Feldstraße 89a, 19348 Perleberg
Tel. +493876/61 63 93

Also worth seeing
Part of the collection in the Wusterhausen / Dosse Trail Museum fits the theme. Here you can marvel at files, eyewitness reports and original things from the edge of the interzone road.

Oldtimer- und Technikmuseum

Escape vehicle in the Perleberg Oldtimer and Technology Museum

Welcome to the realm of screwdrivers and hobbyists! Because mass-produced items in the GDR were not always readily available, many resorted to self-help and improvised. And so the Oldtimer Museum in Perleberg not only shows Wolgas, Ladas, Wartburgs and Trabants, MZs and Simsons that rolled off the assembly line in the relevant state-owned companies, but also what people have made of what is currently available was standing. For example an escape vehicle with a Trabant engine. With this mixture of glider and hang-glider assembled in a private backyard shortly before the fall of the Wall, Siegfried Ryll from Perleberg once wanted to leave the workers 'and peasants' place. The absolute classics of the hobbyist scene were the so-called K-cars, in which, for example, Siegfried Wulf from neighboring Demerthin raced towards the gold medal at the GDR championships at 200 km / h.

The Perleberger friends of oldtimer keep working. In the museum, for which the city provided them with an old gym on the Stepenitzufer, the 50-member association shows around a tenth of its holdings, which are strongly influenced by Eastern technology: from the Tatra limousine to the “Brockenhexe”, from auxiliary bicycle engines to tanks.

Turnhalle Wilsnacker Straße 12, 19348 Perleberg
Tel. +493876/61 30 01

Ebenfalls sehenswert
Wer von historischen Fahrzeugen einfach nicht genug bekommen kann, dem empfehlen wir die Fahrt nach Beuster: Im Blaulichtmuseum im sachsenhaltischen Ort etwas südlich der Elbe dreht sich alles um Polizei-, Feuerwehr- und Armeefahrzeuge. Eine Vielzahl von DDR-Relikten ergänzt die Ausstellung auf dem weitläufigen Hofgelände.

Kyritz-Ruppiner HeideFoto: Tourismusverband Prignitz/Markus Tiemann

Unobstructed view of the Milky Way in the Kyritz-Ruppiner Heide

The starry sky seems within reach on some nights – there is no question of light pollution in Prignitz. The Kyritz-Ruppiner Heide is one of the darkest corners. The nature and landscape guide Andree Kienast offers fans of the stars and romantics a unique experience every year in August on Perseiden Nights: he organizes observations of the sky with biscuits and tea, from the comfort of your lounger. In small groups, the enthusiastic nature and landscape guide passes on his knowledge of constellations and the history of this very special area: From 1992 to 2009, the nationwide unique peaceful resistance against military use and for a “free heath” took place here. The affected communities, citizens' initiatives and the people of the region were supported worldwide: No Bombodrom! With their peaceful protest they directed themselves against any planning and intention of the Bundeswehr to set up a firing and bombing practice area. The residents had little peace beforehand. From 1950 to 1990 the Red Army used the area as a military training area. Detonations and shots were the order of the day. The result is that the area is prohibited from entering, with the exception of the signposted paths due to the ammunition load.

Late summer is ideal for a visit to the blooming heather. A visit to the Heinz Sielmann hill with the fortification of the nature observation tower is a must. The view over the area full of bewitchingly scented heather, which is unique in its uncut, will make your senses disappear. There is a parking lot as a starting point in Pfalzheim.

Andree Kienast
Andree Kienast
Tel. +4933976/16 99 68
Familie Richter in Pfalzheim
Familie Richter in Pfalzheim www.bigwheel-fatbike-verleih.de

3 room apartment – Time travel to the GDR for one night

“Ostblock” owner Bernd Dietrich was born in 1977 and experienced a well-protected childhood between lack of economy and floral wallpaper. After the fall of the Wall, he had to watch how practically everything that was manufactured in the GDR suddenly lost its value and ended up in the trash. In spite of this - or perhaps because of it - Dietrich began to be interested in the unpopular leftovers and began collecting and preparing mopeds and later automobiles. Daily objects were added. Looking for storage capacity in 2007, the former cowshed of the village Lindenberg was found along with the shabby but original Plattenburg. Finally the sense of the hoarded GDR devotional objects arose. In the years that followed, a guest apartment with the GDR look of the 1970s was built, which can now be rented in full or by room. In the cupboards and the museum apartment above: Countless treasures, such as the legendary RG 28 mixer, a shirt from the Permaflott-Iron-Free brand and the DEO 2 soap from Florena from Waldheim-Döbeln. There is a simple explanation for the very good condition of the objects: What you were finally able to call your own with great effort, a long search and several hours waiting in front of the HO was well cared for and should last as long as possible.

The youngster among the monuments – the “Alte Zellwolle” canteen in Wittenberge

The canteen of the former pulp and viscose mill is on the first floor of a typical GDR functional building. The only one of this type still in existence, by the way: square, practical architecture, the monumental painting over its entire length, the glass room dividers: Typically GDR. The taste-assured finish with the result of a simple, elegant, light hall: the work of Lars Meiswinkel. Meiswinkel, owner and operator of the monument canteen, has drawn from his own pool of ideas, while in recent years, together with his colleagues from the monument protection department, he has carefully ensured a contemporary room flair. Orange and yellow now predominate, where formerly dark green with burgundy curtain scarves depressed the mood. It is by no means museum-like here: up to 1,700 meals leave the canteen kitchen every day and guests are expressly welcome. The Prignitz traveler can look forward to classics of German canteen culture. The exceptional room, which has been a listed building since 2015, is also booked for festive events: 800 guests are said to have already been counted here for events with no seats. By the way: those interested will find some impressive relics of the pulp mill behind the building.

Denkmalkantine »Alte Zellwolle«
Denkmalkantine »Alte Zellwolle«
Zum Schöpfwerk 2, 19322 Wittenberge
Tel. +493877/92 37 11

Also worth seeing
A stone's throw away is the Veritas Park with the landmark of Wittenberg, the Singer clock tower. After the war, the factory buildings were the headquarters of VEB Veritas for 40 years; by 1991, over 7 million sewing machines of the same name rolled off the production line here. A Veritas of the 8014 series was owned by many families in the GDR. On top of that, it was an export hit: Wittenberg's sewing machines were sold under the name “Naumann” in Germany. The name has remained: The area east of Wittenberg City is well known as the Veritas Park and is still home to manufacturing industries today. The clock tower is a branch of the “Alte Burg” museum and can be climbed and viewed daily from May to October. A large number of sewing machines, but also plenty of insights into working in a progressive company with comprehensive social benefits from the Baltic Sea holiday to the bowling alley are shown to the visitor in pictures and Scripture brought close.

Wilsnacker Straße 48, 19322 Wittenberge
Tel. +493877/40 52 66

Guided tours can also be booked through the tourist information: 03877/40 52 66

The city museum “Alte Burg” with the exhibition “A VEB was more than a production company - the history of the sewing machine factory from 1945 to 1991” tells the story of the rebuilding of the company after the dismantling in 1945, of the development to the largest household sewing machine producer in the socialist landlord space and the people who made this company what it was.

Stadtmuseum »Alte Burg«
Stadtmuseum »Alte Burg«
Putlitzstraße 2, 19322 Wittenberge
Tel. +493877/40 52 66
Alte Bischofsburg in Wittstock/DosseFoto: Tourismusverband Prignitz/Markus Tiemann

More war than peace – Alte Bischofsburg museums look back on an unpeaceful history

Wittstock and the surrounding area look back on many and unpeaceful history. This is clearly reflected in the special and permanent exhibitions of the museum in the Old Bishop's Castle, in addition to a large number of exhibition spaces influenced by local history: there is no lack of exhibits from the military spectrum. A few kilometers from Wittstock's city walls the airfield of the western group of troops of the USSR (WGT) Alt Daber, once a military airfield, today a ruin. From 1945 until the fall of the Wall, the area was in Soviet hands. The extensive complex, which in its self-sufficiency appears to be a city in its own right, is vividly honored in the museum with the help of rescued objects. Moving images from a German film team and the unexpected filming permission here proves to be a historic stroke of luck also provide unique insights into the command center as well as into the everyday life of the young combat pilots, including the sports and leisure program. The Battle of Wittstock in 1636 was the reason and mandate for the museum to deal with the devastating Thirty Years' War in detail and across the region. Discover history in the tower on seven floors!

Museum des Dreißigjährigen Krieges und Ostprignitzmuseum
Museum des Dreißigjährigen Krieges und Ostprignitzmuseum
Amtshof 1 – 5,16909 Wittstock/Dosse
Kulturhaus in Pritzwalk

Pritzwalk's high-quality GDR architecture at a glance

Anyone who thinks that the planning collectives of the GDR have produced nothing but unimaginative prefabricated buildings will be taught better in Pritzwalk. Two architectural monuments in the immediate vicinity not only prove that quality was possible, but also stand for a profound change in the type of architecture. On one hand, the culture house, which was completed in 1959 and named after the communist writer Erich Weinert: built stone on stone, with a splendid column portal, it is an example of the handcrafted neoclassicism of the so called GDR national style. The house is still used for larger events, theater and cinema screenings. On the other hand, the city library, completed in 1978, as an example of modernism: the concrete slab construction with a striking corrugated roof, made in an industrial type, impresses with a large, light-flooded room. Its green and brown interior from the time it was built has been completely preserved, including registration, shelving systems, chairs and seating groups, textile flooring and slat ceiling. Even - multimedia sends its regards - players for records and cassettes as well as headphones are still available. A sculpture garden from the 1980s completes the ensemble.

Kulturhaus Ericht Weinert
Kulturhaus Ericht Weinert
Kietz 63, 16928 Pritzwalk
Tel. +493395/40 11 17
Stadtbibliothek Pritzwalk
Stadtbibliothek Pritzwalk
Kietz 64, 16928 Pritzwalk
Tel. +493395/30 25 73

Also worth seeing
Museum factory Pritzwalk in the former cloth factory with changing special exhibitions. The permanent exhibition houses in particular an exhibition on the history of the city during the GDR era. You can get an overview of the city and the surrounding area from the observation tower of the museum factory.

Museumsfabrik Pritzwalk
Museumsfabrik Pritzwalk
Meyenburger Tor 3a, 16928 Pritzwalk
Tel. +493395/76 08 11 20


The “Wende.Punkte” travel guide takes you to those special places in the Prignitz where a touch of “Wende” can still be experienced. There is not much to see of the former GDR everyday life and the events of the turning point today. All the more interesting are the places where the history of the GDR and the Wende can still be traced - and this is where the brochure leads the reader. From the Elbe to the Kyritz-Ruppiner Heide, it stretches the red thread through the entire travel region and shows not only museums, but also the landscape and building culture.

The brochure is available at the tourist information offices, in the GDR History Museum in Perleberg and at the Prignitz e.V.