A lot of Germans still go to the Ostsee and especially the city Kühlungsborn is very popular. You can see beach chairs and tourists walking at the promenade, which looks very different in comparison with what you could see at the time between 1961 and 1968.
Of course the city Kühlungsborn was also visited by millions of tourists but strict laws regulated the swimming activities the overnight stays and the obligation to registration. The Ostsee frontier was strongly secured! Between 1961 and 1989, the Grenzbrigade Küste (KVB) was stationed in Kühlungsborn and installed a really severe control system. All together 27 frontier towers and over 70 observation places helped the brigade to control the border.
Despite all the controlling methods of the GBK, the police and the Stasi, plenty of citizens tried to escape to Schleswig-Holsteins coast or to Denmark. There were 38 recorded attempts to escape from Kühlungsborn. 15 people reached the western coast, many were arrested before they could leave and a number of them died during their attempt to escape.
The „See-Grenzbeobachtungsturm“ built in 1973, is besides the ´Grenzturm Börgerende` one of the two preserved Ostsee frontier towers. It became a nonprofit memory and meeting place. It is run by the Grenzturm e.V and it is possible to join a historical tour. A permanent exhibition has been opened in 2012 in the museum‘s pavilion. It offers the possibility to experience the division of Germany where it actually happened. In addition to that there is an archive of many objects and Stasi files which are connected to the region.
The tower can be visited each Friday from3 pm until 5 pm. For visiting the tower outside the opening hours or if you are interested in a guided tour or to take part to a lecture you can contact the Grenzturm e.V via phone or mail.
If you are planning to spend your holidays at the Ostsee, we recommend to visit the „ See Grenzbeobachtungsturm“ in Kühlungsborn. It will enrich your holidays.
Translation by: Sabrina Lameche