Since 1991, the small village of Rüterberg, located on the eastern bank of the Elbe River, has been allowed to officially bear the epithet "Village Republic". A local history room in the village informs visitors about how the village republic was founded and what it meant for the inhabitants to live on and with the inner-German border.
With the division of Germany as a result of the 2nd World War, Rüterberg became a border village overnight. Initially, there were only control measures, but after 1952, in two cleansing actions, many families had to vacate their homes and were forcibly resettled. And life became increasingly difficult for those who remained. The situation in Rueterberg was particularly problematic because the course of the border in the Elbe section was not clearly regulated. As a result, a second fence was erected around Rüterberg in the spring of 1967. The remaining 150 inhabitants were now completely enclosed and could only enter their village through a strictly guarded border gate. From 11 p.m. on, the gate remained completely closed until the next morning. The associated interference in everyday life became increasingly unbearable and led to the fact that in 1989 the few inhabitants finally founded the "Village Republic of Rüterberg" in protest. They no longer wanted to be patronized. Today, an exhibition in the Heimatstube recalls that time. It shows, among other things, original uniforms of the former border troops of the GDR, photos, documents, signage and much more from the time as a restricted area. In addition, exhibits from the former village school as well as loans from the Rueterberger can be seen, which vividly depict life and everyday life in the village before World War II.