It was already past midnight on a misty, cloudy night when the five friends approached the border to West Berlin’s Reinickendorf district from the east side at Rosenthal in Pankow. They observed the movement of the border guards from a good distance before approaching the security area along the cemetery grounds.
Since March 21, 1962, Heinz Jercha and the others in the group had helped dozens of East German citizens escape to the West. On March 27, they again risked going to the other side of the Wall to pick people up and bring them to West Berlin.
In the end he felt he had no other choice but to risk trying to flee, and his last letter to his mother contained a vague hint of this intention. His girlfriend and landlord were also informed of his intention without knowing any details. When he disappeared on April 8, they assumed that his escape had been successful.
On the night leading into April 18, 1962, Jörgen Schmidtchen, who had achieved the rank of private, had been assigned to guard duty with the soldier R. in Potsdam-Babelsberg at a post called "Gleisdreieck." They began their shift at one o’clock in the morning on the inoperative S-Bahn grounds at the border to the West Berlin housing settlement "Kohlhasenbrück."
It was past midnight when the young men raced through the border crossing at a speed of 70 km/h. As the truck broke through the first and second barriers, border guards aimed two bursts of fire at them, firing 14 shots altogether.
On the night of April 16, 1962 the two officer students removed two pistols and ammunition from the weapons cabinet of the Flak Artillery School. They had wanted to be able to defend themselves in an emergency, Wolfgang G. later explained to the West Berlin police.
A number of people succeeded in reaching the West Berlin district of Reinickendorf by escaping through the border fortifications of this area. But East German border guards used their guns to hinder an escape there on April 29, 1962. The 19-year-old Horst Frank tried to "break through" to West Berlin - as it was officially referred to in East Germany - at around half past midnight.
Members of the 1st Border Brigade opened fire on the 14-year-old Wilfried Tews from Erfurt to stop him from escaping. He was seriously injured before he could be pulled onto the western bank. When the border guards’ bullets struck West Berlin, the police officers there provided the fugitive with covering fire. The 21-year-old border guard Peter Göring was fatally injured by a ricochet bullet.
Lutz Haberlandt was probably not totally sober when he headed for the inner-city later that afternoon and entered the grounds of Charité Hospital, situated directly on the border. At about 4 p.m. two transport policemen, who were guarding the area from a nearby railroad bridge noticed him there.
It was 5 p.m. when the young man jumped from the bridge onto a barge that had already passed through the customs control and was heading to the West. But the ship captain refused to take the fleeing man with him. He instead stopped the ship and notified the customs and border guards.
In the early morning hours of July 11, 1962, a fisherman on the West Berlin side of the Havel River noticed the body of a woman floating in the water. He notified the police, who brought the body to land by boat a short time later.
Wolfgang Glöde and his friends wanted to know how the machine pistols the border guards carried worked. The men gave in to their pleas and showed the boys their weapons. Without removing the magazine, Private K. released the safety of his Kalashnikov, causing the accident.
On the afternoon of June 18, 1962, Reinhold Huhn, as a guard of the 4th Border Division, was stationed in the middle of the city at the corner of Jerusalemer Strasse and Zimmerstrasse. The border fortifications here ran right through Berlin’s former newspaper district.
It was only through a coincidence that the East German secret police was able to track down Siegfried Noffke and his fellow tunnel builders. Not aware that her brother was a Stasi informer, one of the East Berliners, who was planning to flee through the tunnel, told him about the tunnel project. The brother, under the alias “Pankow,” immediately informed the East Berlin Stasi district administration.
It was early afternoon when shots were fired on Zimmerstrasse, where the Wall cut right through the neighborhood that had once been Berlin’s lively newspaper quarter. The West Berlin police received the first dispatches at 2:12 p.m. It soon became clear that the border guards’ shots were aimed at two teenagers who had tried to flee over the Wall between Charlottenstrasse and Markgrafenstrasse.
As soon as B. began looking for him, he realized that Wesa had climbed over the border fence to West Berlin. When Wesa ignored his order to come back, he "made use of his firearms," as the official reports euphemistically put it, although Wesa was already past the sector border and had reached West Berlin territory.
Ernst Mundt traveled by bike from his apartment to the Sophien Cemetery on the afternoon of September 4, 1962. He parked his bike on Bergstrasse, where the path was blocked by barbed wire. He climbed on top of the cemetery wall that was covered with pieces of broken glass to prevent intruders and ran along the top towards the sector border.
Günter Seling’s job was to conduct what was called a "post control," to check on the border guards on duty without warning to see if they were conducting themselves according to regulation. Apparently when he approached the soldier W., he made a noise to draw attention to himself.
The East German border troops had an observation site not far away. The two guards in charge of keeping surveillance on the embankment and river immediately noticed the escape attempt. When Anton Walzer jumped in the water the head guard was said to have called out: "Someone is taking off over there," and both border guards opened fire.
The East German border soldiers noticed the escape attempt at around 3:30 a.m. According to West Berlin press reports, a number of shots were fired, after which the water and the eastern bank of the Jungfernsee, a lake extending from the river, were searched.
According to official reports, they were noticed at 6 p.m. A border soldier positioned beneath the S-Bahn tracks heard a noise, reported it and a search party was set in motion. The teenagers, sensing that something was not right, sent Michael M. to check out the situation. When he did not come back, Otfried Reck and Gerd P. became suspicious and decided to give up the plan for the day.
He traveled from Potsdam to Berlin on December 5, 1962 and at dusk approached the embankment of Griebnitz Lake. Half of the water extension to the Havel River belonged to the East German district of Potsdam. The other half was part of the West Berlin outer district of Zehlendorf. Parts of the lake near the embankment had already frozen over that cold winter, but to prevent escapes the East German border troops kept a channel open.