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July 4, 1953

Telephonogram from Miroshnichenko and Lun’kov to Soviet High Commissioner V. Semyonov Regarding Inter-zone Travel


In connection with the events of 17 June, the movement of all types of transport and pedestrians across the sector border between East and West Berlin, as well as between the GDR and East Berlin through West Berlin, was halted.

At present in East and West Berlin, the metro, the city railroad and the tramway run separately, which causes dissatisfaction on the part of the GDR and East Berlin population. Up to June 17, 83 thousand workers and white-collar workers, who live on GDR territory adjacent to the Western Sector of Berlin but work in Eastern Berlin, used the city railway. Now they use a bus, steam train or some other form of transport to get to their place of work, making several stops on the way. Such trips, which previously took 30-40 minutes, now require up to 2 or 3 hours one-way.

Workers and white-collar workers and other strata of the population express serious discontent with these circumstances, and turn to the government of the GDR with the request that it change the existing transport system. In connection with this we consider it expedient to carry out the following measures on the morning of July 6:

1. In the morning and evening hours, to organize electric train traffic from the GDR to East Berlin and back without stops in the Western sectors of the city.

2. In order to improve the travel of the populace living in Western sectors and working in the Eastern sector of Berlin, and vice versa, to open five check-points on the sector boundary in addition to the existing three points.

3. For the residents who live in communities in the GDR located close to the Western sectors of Berlin but work in West Berlin, to organize electric train traffic from the GDR to certain stations of West Berlin.

[Our] friends (Cde. Ulbricht) fully agree with the measures we are proposing and request that they be informed about the decision taken on these proposals today, in order for them to be able to announce the decision on the radio and to calm the population.

In relation to the decision by the SED Politburo to request the High Commissioner of the USSR in Germany to open the sector border, Ulbricht stated that this issue could be examined after the implementation of the aforementioned measures.

We ask for your instructions.

Telegram describing discontent of the German population living in East Berlin at the disruption caused by the restrictions imposed on intra-zones travel as a result of the events of 17 June 1953. The telegram recommends actions to be taken to improve the movement of people across the Berlin border.


Document Information


AVP RF, f. 82, op. 41, port. 93, pap. 280, ll 61-61. Translated by Benjamin Aldrich-Moodie.


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