On 24 August 1961, a Sunday, the 24-year-old tailor Günter Litfin became the first victim of the GDR’s shoot-to-kill policy as he tried to swim to freedom across a 40m-wide canal. His younger brother Jürgen learned about his death later that day – on TV. Since 2003 he has kept Günter’s legacy alive with a modest exhibit set up in an old border watchtower.

The memorial is about 1.6km northeast of the Hauptbahnhof. From the station, walk east on Invalidenstrasse as far as the Spree canal bridge, then follow the east bank for about 800m.