East of Helmstedt on the border between the states of Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt was the largest border crossing between the former West- and East Germany located. It was strategically located along the Autobahn (A2), which united West Germany with West Berlin. On the west German side, the checkpoint was called Checkpoint Alpha and on the east German side it was called Grenzübergangstelle Marienborn. At the eastern border crossing, the cars and their passengers had to undergo rigorous checks to ensure that no people or prohibited articles were smuggled between the two German states. Everything was extremely time-consuming and bureaucratic and could take several hours to conduct before evertything the were allowed to proceed. In particular, the citizens of East Germany were scrutinized much more thoroughly than the citizens of the west.

Current status: Preserved with museum (2012).

Address: A2, 39365 Marienborn.

Get there: Car.

My comment:

Definitely a interesting museum, just like Hötensleben, and beats the heavliy commercialized Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin. For those who wanted to smuggle whether it was people or forbidden goods, it was important to be cunning not to be caught. Some of the goods seized were cassette tapes with Depeche mode, men’s "adult" magazines, cameras, copies of the film Highlander, sneakers, lego, walkman, model trains, etc. Much of the goods confiscated probably ended up in the guards and officials own pockets.

Follow up in books: Fulbrook, Mary: The People’s State: East German Society from Hitler to Hoenecker (2008).