It was an unusually cold New Year’s morning with temperatures more than ten degrees below zero when Hans Räwel entered the freezing cold water of the Spree near the Oberbaum Bridge. For a good swimmer, trying to reach the West Berlin bank on the other side was not necessarily a futile undertaking.
They crossed an open field and slid under a barbed wire fence. They watched the border guards and waited for them to move away before they began crawling through the security trenches toward the border. At about ten minutes past midnight and with only 25 meters between them and the border to West Berlin, two shots were suddenly fired.
Five teenagers set off from Hennigsdorf on the night of January 23 to break through the border grounds to West Berlin. They had happened to meet at a youth club that evening and spontaneously decided to leave East Germany together.
The 16-year-old Wolf-Olaf Muszynski had been reported missing from the East Berlin district of Friedrichshain since February 6, 1963. This led the East German police headquarters to contact the western side of the city on March 18 to inquire whether a young boy had "arrived for registration," or in other words, whether he had escaped to the West.
On the night of April 26, 1963, under the cover of darkness, the young man approached the border security grounds not far from the Erlenweg at the Teltow Canal. He used a side cutter to break through the two lower wires of the barrier fence. When he reached the canal, he left his clothes on the embankment.
Before they realized what was happening, Siegfried Widera and his assisting guard were knocked down with fists and an iron rod. Then the fugitives ran past the barriers on the Massante Bridge and, although the guard T. began shooting at them, they reached the West Berlin bank on the other side uninjured.
Klaus Schröter carefully planned his escape long in advance. He planned his route under the water across the Spree River and acquired all the necessary equipment over time. He sold his television set so that he could buy a scuba outfit.
Dietmar Schulz was not completely sober when he entered the railway grounds in the border area that November evening, but evidently nobody noticed him. Contradictory reports exist about how the young man was able to enter the prohibited zone and how the fatal accident occurred.
December 13, 1963 was a Friday. That morning Dieter Berger drove to work in Berlin-Adlershof as usual. According to Stasi files, during his lunch break he got drunk with a colleague and left the construction site later that afternoon. After that he presumably walked to Johannisthal, the next bordering district.
The two boys left their homes early in the morning on Christmas Day, telling their parents that they were going to visit friends. Hartmut D. reported that they took a train from Neubrandenburg to East Berlin and walked for hours along the inner-city security grounds, looking for a good place to flee.