Germany - The Walls Came Tumbling Down

Escaping from the DDR

It is not the intention of this website to go into any great detail concerning attempts to escape from the DDR....there are many websites dedicated to that purpose.....please see "Extras / Further Reading".
Casualty numbers vary from source to source and it is unlikely that a definitive figure will ever be available. However, frequently used numbers are used below.

From the day the border between East-West Germany closed and West Berlin was surrounded, people have attempted to escape.......some successfully but others not.
In 1962, the first full year of the new borders, there were 3456 successful escapes through the IGB and 2305 between East-West Berlin.
By 1986 the numbers had fallen to 200 and 10 respectively.
Between 1961 and 1989, more than 5,600 persons attempted to escape across the Baltic Sea. Only about 900 were successful and 180 persons died.

The changing defences of the 'Blue Border'.......the early barbed wire barriers and the 'modern border'

The infamous image of the dying Peter Fechter being removed by East German border guards who shot him down when he tried to flee to the west on August 17th, 1962 and an unknown wounded escaper being dragged across the death strip by border guards

From the earliest days, the use of 'deadly force' was authorized........"Firearms are to be ruthlessly used in the event of attempts to break through the border and the comrades who have successfully used their firearms are to be commended."

Unofficial figures estimate that over 1000 people were killed trying to cross the Inner German Border or Baltic Sea and 239 were killed attempting to cross the Berlin Wall.