End of the Road for Historic Rest Stop





It was a sort of official crack in the Berlin Wall, one of the few places where East Germans could meet West Germans. Now it's doomed to demolition. The Michendorf rest stop on the outskirts of Berlin is to be knocked down next Monday to make way for an expanded highway.

During the Cold War it had been a place where West Berliners driving through East Germany could grab a cheap bite or share a beer with some East Germans before crossing the border into the US sector of the divided city.

The rest stop, with its gas station and restaurant, became a popular spot for East and West Germans to meet up with friends and family who lived on the other side of the Berlin Wall. Another attraction for West Berliners was the prices: a pork steak with herb butter, peas and fries only cost 3.95 in both deutsche marks and East German marks. (In deutsche marks, by 1989, that was about two dollars.)

Bärbel Grossmann of the local historical society in Michendorf told SPIEGEL ONLINE that they had tried to have the rest stop turned into a museum in 2000, but "it was too late." Plans to expand the A10 highway had been approved, and it was now impossible to list the site as a protected building. Local conservationists had only realized the importance of the rest stop in 1998. Marie-Luise Buchinger of the Brandenburg Protection of Historical Monuments Office told the Märkische Allgemeine newspaper that by then, "demolition plans were so far ahead that they couldn’t be revoked."



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