30 August 1961
The West Berlin chief of police offers a reward of 10,000 marks for information leading to the capture of the person who had killed a so far unidentified escapee (Roland Hoff) the day before. "Wanted" posters are put up on advertising columns in Berlin and along the sector border. The state prosecutor at the West Berlin Supreme Court announces that a murder investigation will be launched in all cases where escapees are shot dead.
The central SED organ, "Neues Deutschland", reacts with wrathful indignation during the next few days, vilifying the dead Wall victims Günter Litfin and Roland Hoff as "criminals" and "shady figures". Günter Litfin is accused of being a homosexual who was caught performing "criminal acts"; Roland Hoff is called a "thug with previous criminal convictions" "who tried to run from the People’s Police because they wanted to arrest him for a new offence". The paper says that the border guards "were doing their duty by using their weapons to hinder attempts to break through the border by violent means". The "wanted" poster for the presumed murderer of Roland Hoff is described as an "infamous smear campaign". An article in "Neues Deutschland" signed by "Dr. K." states: "We have no doubt that the instigators of the smear campaign will be brought to account one day."
In the newspaper "Märkische Zeitung", unnamed "comrades" from a group designated only as a "unit of the German Border Police on the national border of the GDR to West Berlin in the area Teltow/Kleinemachnow" also write an open letter to "Brandt, Stumm, Lemmer and Co. (inciters of the front-city mood), in what is still West Berlin", confirming that "anyone infringing the national border of our GDR will lose hair, teeth or their lives."
On Chausseestrasse in East Berlin, the 50-year-old doctor Wilhelm P. hangs himself. According to a report by the East Berlin People’s Police, "Dr. P.’s wife said he suffered heavy depression. The dead man was strongly Western-oriented; his son went to school in West Berlin and P. was convinced that he was going to have his practice taken away from him."
West German President Heinrich Lübke visits West Berlin. After prolonged talks with the Ruling Mayor, Heinrich Lübke looks at the situation of the refugees in the Marienfelde Reception Centre. After this, the President takes a long tour along the sector border.
Barely 24 hours after the fatal shots were fired, another escapee swims across the Teltow Canal. Guards open fire again, but this time the escape attempt is successful.
So far, 51,422 young people have followed the Free German Youth Campaign "The Fatherland Calls – Protect Our Socialist Republic" and "volunteered" to serve in the National People’s Army of the GDR. A young lathe operator from Hennigsdorf, who has succeeded in fleeing to West Berlin with his wife, talks about the pressure that was used.
A waitress from Chemnitz talks about the mood of near panic on 13 August. She relates how holiday-makers hastily left the FDGB (Free German Trade Union Federation) holiday home in which she was working, taking all their belongings with them.
A RIAS reporter gives a bird’s-eye report from a helicopter about the destruction of the cityscape caused by the "death strip" that has dissected Berlin. The flight goes along the sector border from Rudow to the Brandenburg Gate.
In a progress report to the CPSU Central Committee, the Soviet defence ministry gives information on the movement of American troops from West Germany to West Berlin, saying they might be carrying atomic ammunition with them. It says that, if the US armed forces told Soviet inspectors at the Helmstadt/Marienborn border checkpoint that they were transporting atomic weapons, they would be stopped; however, if they denied the fact, they would have to be let through. – Two days later, on 1 September, the Soviet defence ministry gives the all-clear: a thorough secret inspection, using Geiger counters, of the wagons of the US armed forces that had now arrived in Marienborn had shown that they were not carrying any radioactive weapons.
In Washington, US President John F. Kennedy announces that he will send General Lucius D. Clay as his personal envoy to Berlin on 15 September.
Eastern press reactions:
Under the headline "Yesterday with Siemens – today with us", the SED central organ "Neues Deutschland" publishes interviews with former "Grenzgänger" (cross-border commuters) who worked at Siemens in West Berlin until 13 August. The introduction states: "We warned them for a long time. When we carried out our protective measures on 13 August, we also took their power to decide from them: today they only have the choice to become true citizens of the GDR. They are already working among us. We hope, however, that they will also soon realise that this is not only necessary, but good. For themselves, and for the rightful German state."