Wittengen Forested Area

The 500-meter wide cleared strip in particular, and the 5-kilometer border zone in general, along the East German border was referred to as the Death Strip. 916 East Germans were killed trying to cross this strip into West German between 1961 and 1989. Ironically, during this same period the strip became a refuge for more than a hundred rare plants and animals. German conservationists now regard this ribbon of wild land (which actually varies from only a 100 meters to 5 kilometers) as one of Europe's most important habitats. The Death Strip has been renamed the Green Band (Edwards 1996: 12).