The circumstances of her death were diligently recorded in East Berlin. The East German police noted in one of their routine reports: "On August 22, 1961, at 6. 50 a.m., Ida Siekmann […], single, jumped out the window of her third floor apartment in the front building and onto the street […]. S. was carried away by the West Berlin fire department.
It was just after 4 p.m. when Günter Litfin began his attempt to reach West Berlin by fleeing between the Friedrichstrasse and Lehrter train stations. According to reports from the East Berlin police, he crossed Charité Hospital grounds and climbed over a wall bordering the bank of the Spree River when members of the transport police discovered him.
At 2 p.m. he jumped into the border waters with a briefcase under his arm and swam to the West Berlin side. "Don’t shoot! Please don’t shoot" he called out after the first shots were fired.
It was August 19 and the American vice president Lyndon B. Johnson had just arrived in West Berlin. His visit was supposed to restore the West Berliners’ faith in the United States after the protecting powers had shown such reserve in response to the sector border’s being sealed off, a reaction that was incomprehensible to West Berliners. On the east side of the city the Urbans began preparing their escape.
Olga Segler decided to jump from the window of her second story apartment on September 24. Her daughter waited down below on the sidewalk, encouraging her to jump. The firemen caught the eighty-year-old woman in their rescue net but she injured her back on impact and had to be taken by ambulance to the nearby Lazarus Hospital.
Bernd Lünser planned to get around the barriers and border guards by climbing onto the roof of a house on Swinemünder Strasse in the evening. From there he planned to cross the rooftops until he reached the corner building at Bernauer Strasse, from where he intended to use a clothes line to scale down the front of the building.
It was almost midnight when he approached the bank of the Spree River. He removed his jacket, pants and shoes on the grounds of the Osthafenmühle and jumped into the water. Border guards posted on the nearby bridge noticed the fugitive immediately.
On the evening of October 14, 1961, the 25-year-old East Berliner went to the Spree not far from his parents` apartment and entered the water beneath the Schilling Bridge with the intention of swimming to the West Berlin bank on the other side.
Lothar Lehmann was sent to the border. He was assigned to a Gross Glienicke police unit that was stationed outside of Berlin, not far from his home in Falkensee. His unit belonged to the "border police" that guarded the border between the East German district of Potsdam and West Berlin. Just what motivated the 19-year-old to flee is not known.
The others stayed behind when, at around 7 p.m., Dieter Wohlfahrt and Karl-Heinz Albert climbed over the rope that marked the border to the West. Hidden by the darkness, they used bolt clippers and engineer pliers to cut through the three layers of barbed wire fence that blocked off the border there.
At around 11 p.m. on December 10, 1961, Ingo Krüger took a taxi with two friends to the Spree bank at Schiffbauerdamm. He was already wearing his diving suit under his coat. A friend who monitored boat traffic on the Spree was waiting for them.
Around 10 p.m., on orders from his duty leader, he inspected the signaling device on the barbed wire fence, but never returned to his post. Instead he gradually approached the bridge that led to West Berlin.