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Collections & Archive

Glimpse into the collection

Index

The Foundation collects original objects and historical artefacts related to the Berlin Wall and the history of the division. The collections include all forms of material cultural assets, especially objects, photographs, documents and publications. Original remains oft he Wall from all over Berlin are preserved in the memorial's lapidarium. The thematic focus is on the GDR border regime, flight and escape assistance, protest and resistance against division, dealing with and everyday life with the Wall, the Allied occupation forces in Berlin and the culture of remembrance of the divided city. The holdings are constantly expanding, mainly through private donations. The collections are the basis for academic research, educational work and for exhibitions, publications and online projects.

Overview

List of Collections

Glimpse into the collection

Object Collection

parts of the border fortifications, everyday objects, escape relics

Glimpse into the collection

Historical Photo Archive

copies, negatives, slides, digital images

Glimpse into the collection

Media Collection

audio, film and video recordings, digital applications

Document folder

Documents

certificates, forms, letters, recordings, reports

Maps in the archive

Maps

country maps, city maps, school wall maps, drawings

Publikationen im Archiv

Publications

brochures, newspapers, magazines, books

postcards in the archive

Postcards

picture postcards

Albums in the Archiv

Albums and art

souvenir and photo albums, learning material boxes, artwork

Suitcase in the archive

Marienfelde Refugee Center Museum Collection

objects, photographs, documents

objects by contemporary witnesses

Contemporary Witness Objects

objects connected to oral history interviews

The event archive

Foundation’s Photo Archive

events and press photos

Reconciliation Church Archive

Archive of the Reconciliation Parish

photos, audio recordings, film in digital form

The research archive

Research Archive

excerpts from archive research

Press archive

Press Archive on Inner-German Flight

newspaper clippings

Research and Use

The collections, the research and press archives, and the reference holdings of the Berlin Wall Foundation are continuously being digitalised and recorded in a database. They are available for viewing and use by all those interested in the subject. Due to regulations from archival law, copyright law, protection of privacy or individual agreements with donors, certain holdings are excluded or only accessible to a limited extent.

Wall Photos

Part of the Berlin Wall Foundation's historical photo archive is also accessible via the open-access service Berlin Wall Photos.

Glimpse into the Collections

Birds from Another World

  • The birds

    Porcelain birds from the Schofield family estate, 1970s Stiftung Berliner Mauer, donation from John Schofield.

    These porcelain birds came from the Karl Ens manufacture in Rudolstadt-Volkstedt in Thuringia. They left East Berlin in 1972/73 and traveled to the West via the Friedrich-/Zimmerstrasse border crossing and the Allied control point Checkpoint Charlie. Maureen Schofield, wife of Arthur Schofield, who was a member of the British armed forces, bought them during trips to East Berlin with her son.

  • John und Maureen Schofield in front of a military train

    John and Maureen Schofield traveling from West Berlin to Strasbourg on the French military train, 1973.

    John Schofield private collection

  • John Schofield in front of the Brandenburger Tor in Ost-Berlin

    John Schofield in front of the Brandenburg Gate in East Berlin, 1972

    Private collection of John Schofield

  • Arthur und John Schofield on the Havel River with a view of the listening station on Teufelsberg

    Arthur and John Schofield on the Havel River with a view of the listening station on Teufelsberg, 1971/72

    Private collection of John Schofield

    East Berlin seemed like another world to John, a ten-year-old boy at the time. The family lived in West Berlin, near the Royal Air Force base in Gatow. Accompanied at all times by British military police, the mother and son visited museums and parks, and always went to the same porcelain shop in East Berlin. Arthur Schofield was never able to join them. As a commanding officer at the Western Allies listening station on Teufelsberg, he was not allowed to travel to East Berlin for security reasons. 

  • Arthur Schofield at his desk

    Arthur Schofield at his worksite at the listening station on Teufelsberg, 1972/73

    Private collection of John Schofield

  • John and Maureen Schofield in London in front of the display case with the porcelain birds

    John and Maureen Schofield in London in front of the display case with the porcelain birds from East Berlin, Christmas 1973  

    Private collection of John Schofield

    The family returned to Great Britain in 1973. The birds were given an honorary place in the living room as a reminder of their life in the divided city of Berlin. After his parents died, John Schofield donated the birds to the Berlin Wall Foundation. He is now a professor of archaeology at York University.

  • Maureen Schofield at the age of 96

    Maureen Schofield at the age of 96 in her apartment in Suffolk, 2016

    Private collection of John Schofield

    Six of the birds are currently on display in the entrance area of the permanent exhibition in the Documentation Center of the Berlin Wall Memorial.

For 10-year-old John, East Berlin seemed like another world. The Schofield family lived in West Berlin, near the Royal Air Force base in Gatow. Always accompanied by British military police, mother and son visited museums, parks and the same china shop over and over again in East Berlin. Arthur Schofield could never accompany them. As the commanding officer at the Western Allied listening station on Teufelsberg, he could not go to East Berlin for security reasons.

In 1973, the family returned to Britain. There, the birds were given pride of place in the living room as a reminder of life in the divided city of Berlin. After the death of his parents, John Schofield has now left the total of 36 porcelain birds to the Berlin Wall Foundation. He is now a professor of archaeology at the University of York.

Six of the well-travelled birds are currently on display in the entrance area of the permanent exhibition at the Berlin Wall Memorial Documentation Centre.

 

Help Us Remember!

The Foundation collects material relating to all aspects of the Berlin Wall, in particular the border fortifications, daily interactions with division, flight and emigration, the fall of the Wall, and remembrance after 1990. These include photographs, film material, original objects, documents, private letters and writing, maps and souvenir albums. The most important parts of our collection were given to the memorial as private donations and can be preserved here permanently for the future. If you have material that could be useful to our educational work or that could help preserve the memory of the Berlin Wall, please contact our curator directly (without obligation).

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