Collections & Archive
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.
List of Collections
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.
Birds from Another World
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 British Royal Air Force man, bought them during trips to East Berlin with her son.
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.
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).