West Berliners were allowed into the eastern sector of the city to visit relatives and friends for the first time in six years on Wednesday (29 March) as six checkpoints were thrown open as an Easter goodwill gesture.
LV United States sector of Berlin with people approaching and CU sign
SV ZOOM TO CU - MV and GVs people approaching checkpoint (4 shots)
GVs British sector signs - Staaken checkpoint with army patrol on guard (2 shots)
GV Checkpoint Sonnenallee showing East German guards checking vehicles (3 shots)
GV & CUs Flower seller with flowers on way to checkpoint (4 shots)
CU Sign "You are entering German Democratic Republic"
GV. Mv and CU East Berlin checkpoint outside Friedrichstrasse Railway Station with West Berliners being greeted by relatives in East Berlin (3 shots)
LV Brandenbury Gate
MVs People shopping in East Berlin with relatives (3 shots)
GVs People shopping at another East Berlin shopping centre (3 shots)
Initials OS/011 OS/027
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Background: West Berliners were allowed into the eastern sector of the city to visit relatives and friends for the first time in six years on Wednesday (29 March) as six checkpoints were thrown open as an Easter goodwill gesture.
The checkpoints will remain open until April 5th.
Under the terms of an East German decree, West Berliners may spend up to three days visiting homes in the East during the Easter period.
On Wednesday - a normal working day for most Berliners - the number of people taking advantage of the checkpoints was small. But authorities expect many thousands of people will cross into East Berlin during the holiday starting on Good Friday.
The last time West Berliners were allowed to visit the eastern sector was in 1966.
Checkpoints were also open on Wednesday allowing West Berliners into other parts of East Germany - for the first time in nearly 20 years.
SYNOPSIS: A checkpoint in the United States sector of Berlin was one of six thrown open on Wednesday by East German authorities to allow West Berliners to visit relatives and friends in the East during the East holidays. Few took advantage of the open checkpoints on the first day - but authorities expect numbers will swell considerably when the holiday begins on Good Friday. It's the first time East Berlin has allowed West Berliners to visit the eastern sector for six years.
West Berliners were allowed to pass through the checkpoints with formalities cut to a minimum.
Open for the first time in 20 years - checkpoints allowing West Berliners to visit other parts of East Germany.
Enterprising West Berliners were quick to sat up flower stalls close to the open checkpoints - and they reported a steady demand for bouquets and people prepared to meet relatives for the first time in many years.
Busiest of the checkpoints was that at the Friedrichstrasse Railway Station - where West Berliners arriving by underground and overhead railways are received. Small groups of East Berliners waited outside the checkpoints for the hoped-for relatives to arrive.
For the West Berliners - a rare change to sample East Berlin shopping, as they joined their friends in preparing for the Easter Holiday. Under the terms of the agreement, East Berlin will leave the checkpoints open until April the fifth. Until then, West Berliners are being allowed visits lasting up to there days in the eastern zone.