Living history along the German-German border

When traveling through Germany, history lurks around every corner. Today, the border between the German federal states of Bavaria and Thuringia is barely recognizable. Only traffic signs remind you that you crossed into a different Bundesland. However, only 30 years ago, an ideological and geographical division was a reality in Germany.


In November 1989, the Iron Curtain fell. Friends and families that had been forcibly separated for decades could finally reunite. Today, one generation has grown up in a unified, democratic Germany. Many can hardly imagine a life with an inner-German border, the embodiment of the Iron Curtain. In Berlin, an actual guarded concrete barrier, the Berlin Wall, divided the city for nearly 30 years. However, during the Cold War, Berlin wasn’t the only German municipality split by a pointless wall. The village Mödlareuth also became a victim of the post-WWII global order. 

Situated partly in Bavaria (former West Germany) and partly in Thuringia (former East Germany), it shared the faith with Berlin. In 1966 an unpassable concrete barrier became a reality for 50 Mödlareuthians. American troops accurately nicknamed Mödlareuth Little Berlin

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Mödlareuth Wall fell too. While the villagers are either Bavarians or Thuringians, both with their distinctive dialects and even different school holiday times, they stay united to celebrate the Wall’s fall every year.

The local governments decided to keep parts of the Wall as a reminder for future generations. It now belongs to the open-air German-German museum in Mödlareuth. Visitors can walk along the barrier and the border zone, consisting of several fences and watchtowers. An exhibition hall provides insights into the life during the Cold War era on both sides of the former physical and ideological barrier.

The museum in Mödlareuth is an excellent demonstration that a Wall is never a solution.

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