Victims of the Berlin Wall

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Victims of the Berlin Wall

Sometimes the Berlin Wall is nothing more than a simple glittering brick on the ground to show people visiting Berlin where the Berlin Wall used to be. Berliners who were born before 1989 only have to close their eyes to remember where the Berlin Wall was.

One more Berlin Wall victim

Years after the Berlin Wall fell, there is evidence the Berlin Wall has made one more victim. 30 year old Hans-Joachim Zock drowned in the river Spree on November 17, 1970. He tried to swim to the other side of the river near the heat and power station in Mitte (near An der Michael Brucke), but didn’t make it. He was found one month later.

The Stasi had a large file on Hans-Joachim Zock. But because the drowning man was not spotted during his flight to West Berlin, the Stasi managed to keep his flight secret until recently. Researches of the Freie University in Berlin discovered the Stasi file on Zock.

berlijnse muurIt was not his fist attempt to flee to West Berlin. Hans-Joachim Zock fled to West Germany in 1956. But the West German didn’t stay in his home part of Germany. In 1960 he returned to the GDR. Soon after he ran into trouble with the Stasi again. Not that strange, because they already kept a close eye on him. When Zock was 15 years old he got into his first bit of trouble with the Stasi. He had a job at a DDR guesthouse and therefore the Stasi interrogated him. They thought he lacked discipline and he had to work at another guesthouse in Berlin Mitte as a punishment. Back in the GDR in 1960 he ended up in prison twice, once for criminal assault.

At his new job at Chemistry concert Buna someone sabotaged the work and Zock was the primary suspect of the Stasi. They interrogated him for hours. Although a fellow colleague was found guilty, the Stasi kept spying on Zock.

On November 17, 1970 decided to swim to West Berlin, to the Schillingbrucke. Leaving his coat and his travel ticket in East Berlin. What happened in the Spree during his last minutes, we will probably never know. Fact is: he didn’t make it. The Stasi found children’s pictures, glasses and a letter, in which he stated to have been interrogated by the Stasi, many times.

Zock is the 138th Berlin Wall victim and probably won’t be the last victim of the Berlin Wall. The Stasi was not too keen on sharing who died during a flight.

 

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Berlin Wall Victims

The Berlin Wall had a huge impact on the lifes of the people who lived in Berlin. Families, friends and loved ones were separated for decades. If you lived in West Berlin, you still had the opportunity to visit your grandma in East Berlin. But she could never come to you. People who were about to get married, suddenly had a fiancee on the other side of the Berlin Wall. They were trapped.

Most people learned how to deal with the fact that they could not go to the Western part of Europe any more. Others wanted to leave. No matter what. They dug tunnels, organized passport schemes or simply climbed over the wall. Even if they were shot at. They cried with joy when they were on the other side of the Berlin Wall.

Some people weren’t so lucky. They too wanted to leave the GDR. But they died, escaping to the other side. We have written this page to tell their stories, so the brutalities of the Berlin Wall are not forgotten.

Victim of the Berlin Wall of October 5, 1961: Udo Dullick

Although the Spreewater can be quite cold and the currents are strong, 25 year old Udo Dullick wanted to get to the other side of Berlin. After a quarrel at his work he became jobless and since he was quite a good swimmer, life at West Berlin seemed more promising. He entered the water between Treptow and Kreuzberg. He soon was spotted by border patrols who started shooting at Dullick. He didn’t get shot. But the strong currents and the fear did kill him. The border police in West Berlin dragged him out of the water. Nobody knew who he was. His scared parents who still lived in East Berlin didn’t know what happened to their son. His brother, who lived in Switzerland, had to identify him. He got a high profile burial in the West. His parents commemorated him too, but the priest that led the service was not allowed to say anything about the way Udo Dullick died.

gedenkplaats slachtoffers berlijnse muurVictim of the Berlin Wall on October 4, 1961: Bernd Lunser

Bernd Lunser was one of the first victims of the Berlin Wall. He was a talented student that wanted to continue his engineer studies at West Berlin. But when the Berlin Wall was erected, that was no longer possible.

But Bernd Lunser didn’t give up. The new semester in West Berlin started in October and he desperately wanted to be part of it. He managed to climb the roof on Bernauer Strasse. It was quite a hassle, because the area was closely watched by the border police. Bernauer Strasse was very close to West Berlin and some apartments that were on the border even had a view on West Berlin.

Lunser planned to use a clothes line to sail into West Berlin, but it didn’t take the border police long to spot him. They started running towards him to close him in. The student wanted to leave the GDR so he started to scream for help to the other side of Berlin. The West Berlin fire brigade soon came to his rescue with a jumping sheet. Bernd Lunser jumped. But he missed the sheet and hit the concrete. He died instantly, 22 years old. More on how the situation on Bernauer Strasse was.

 

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