A riverside promenade and the 'unknown fugitive'

Memorial to the Unbekannten Flüchtling' or 'Unknown Fugitive' - later named as Udo Düllick - who tragically drowned while trying to swim the river here from East to West Berlin

Dem Unbekannten Flüchtling - 'To the unknown fugitive'.

It's easy to miss the memorial half hidden in foliage on the riverside May-Ayim-Ufer, but it once served as a rallying point for thousands of Berliners.

In October 1961 a young man drowned here trying to swim from East to West. His name, in fact, was Udo Düllick, although it took several weeks to verify his identity, and even then, West German authorities withheld the information at the request of his family, who feared repercussions by the East German state.

So he remained the 'unknown fugitive', and shortly after his body was recovered a service and protest meeting was attended by 2,500 people.

For days afterwards, hundreds more arrived with flowers and wreaths; a few weeks later, the memorial stone was erected by West Berlin citizens and became the site of annual commemorations.

But the May-Ayim-Ufer isn't just a place to contemplate the city's sombre past.

The cobbled street boasts glorious views of Berlin's iconic Oberbaumbrücke bridge, as well as sweeping vistas of the famous East Side Gallery on the opposite side of the river. Tourists flock to this art-bedecked section of the Berlin Wall, but leave the May-Ayim-Ufer almost completely devoid of crowds.

Beautiful views of the Oberbaumbrücke bridge from the May-Ayim-Ufer
The 'Signalkugel' sculpture on the May-Ayim-Ufer, Berlin, which rises and falls as river traffic passes on the Spree.

A lovely riverside cafe occupies the lower section of the quay; the steps are located on either side of the 'Signalkugel' sculpture, a large red ball which (rather unexpectedly) rises and falls as boats pass on the Spree.

There's another surprise in the form of the 'FluxBau' arts centre, bar and restaurant, which is tucked away on the edge of the promenade and again boasts its own terrace directly on the water.

The entrance is hidden off an inner courtyard, so you'll need to scout it out. And take a moment, of course, to locate Udo Düllick's memorial - a moving reminder that this beautiful stretch of river once separated the city as tangibly as the Wall itself.

The May-Ayim Ufer offers beautiful views of Berlin's Spree River and Oberbaumbrücke bridge, as well as a sobering reminder of Berlin's tragic past

See also:
Berlin by district
Lenin's last stand
A riverside cafe without the crowds
Historic waterworks, new cultural spaces

May-Ayim-Ufer riverside walk and memorial to the 'Unknown Fugitive': 10997 Berlin
FluxBau: Pfuelstraße 5 (adjacent to May-Ayim-Ufer), 10997 Berlin (entrance via second courtyard).

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