Escape from the Soviet occupation zone and the GDR

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Rush of refugees in front of the Marienfelde emergency reception center in Berlin, July 1961

Escape from the Soviet occupation zone and the GDR - in GDR parlance " republic flight " - was leaving the GDR or its predecessor, the Soviet occupation zone (SBZ), or East Berlin without the approval of the authorities. From the founding of the GDR on October 7, 1949 to June 1990, over 3.8 million people left the state, many of them illegally and at great risk. These figures also include 480,000 GDR citizens who have legally emigrated since 1962 . Around 400,000 returned to the GDR in the course of time.


Escape across the green border near Marienborn , October 1949
Refugee movement 1977–1986

As early as 1945 - before the founding of the GDR (1949) - thousands left the territory of the Soviet occupation zone (SBZ) for West Berlin or West Germany without deregistering or obtaining a permit. After the increasing flight was recognized as a problem by the government of the GDR, the ordinance on the return of German identity cards when moving to West Germany or West Berlin was issued on January 25, 1951 . There it said in § 1:

Anyone who moves to West Germany or West Berlin [...] has to de-register with [...] the People's Police and return their identity card [...]. Section 2 stipulated: Anyone who [...] does not return identity cards is punished with imprisonment for up to three months [...].

This penalty was increased by the passport law of the German Democratic Republic of September 15, 1954 . It determined in § 8 (1):

Anyone who leaves the territory of the German Democratic Republic abroad without a permit [...] is punished with up to three years in prison.

Regardless of these threats of punishment, the escape remained a problem and in the law supplementing the penal code ( Criminal Law Supplementary Act ) of December 11, 1957 , Section 21 threatened the temptation to leave the German Democratic Republic with a prison sentence . Finally, the GDR Criminal Code of 1968 created the offense of unlawful border crossing , which could be punished with imprisonment for up to five years.

Although the GDR had acceded to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights , which guaranteed the free movement of citizens of a state, and also signed the Helsinki Final Act , which sought freedom of movement in the form of declarations of intent - including travel facilitation - the GDR government refused to do so Citizens the free movement and leaving the national territory - except in the direction of the Eastern European countries.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights as customary international law was also part of the Helsinki Final Act , in particular Article 13.2: "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country."

Restricted freedom of movement in the GDR

The freedom of movement was strong for citizens of the GDR limited. A passport and visa-free exit has only been possible to Czechoslovakia since 1971 and temporarily (until 1980) to the People's Republic of Poland ; private or vacation trips with a visa could normally only be undertaken in a few countries. (According to the "Ordinance on Travel by Citizens of the German Democratic Republic to Abroad" of November 30, 1988: People's Republic of Bulgaria , Korean People's Democratic Republic , Mongolian People's Republic , People's Republic of Poland, Socialist Republic of Romania , Czechoslovak Socialist Republic , Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the Hungarian People's Republic .)

On the other hand, emigrating to non-socialist countries was subject to severe restrictions and was almost impossible for the average citizen. An exit application for leaving the GDR once ( moving to the West) was, if at all, often only approved after years, usually had disadvantages for the applicant (and often also for his relatives) - for example in the professional field - and was associated with Harassment by the Ministry for State Security (MfS), such as forced relocation, spying through wiretapping and threatening phone calls. Multiple applications brought tens of thousands to prison. Private trips to the West for urgent family matters (major birthdays, gold and silver weddings, deaths, etc.) have often been approved for individuals, not families, since the 1970s. The approval was also preceded by a political security review. An exit permit could be refused without giving reasons. Trips by so-called secret carriers were usually not approved.

On the other hand, permanent or short-term departures of citizens of retirement age were usually approved without any problems.

For a few young people who were selected according to strict criteria and who were considered politically reliable, the FDJJugendtourist ” travel agency also offered opportunities for tourist trips to the West, which then took the form of tightly organized group trips.

Business trips by scientists, managers, truck drivers, pilots, seafarers, train drivers, journalists, construction workers, athletes (see athletes ' flight from the GDR ), artists, etc. (so-called travel cadres ) to the West were also only allowed after a security check for political reliability by the MfS approved.

The lack of legal opportunities caused many people who were permitted to travel to the West to not return to the GDR without the approval of the GDR authorities . Such refugees were called in the authorities language stayers .

Legal exit without the approval of the GDR authorities was only possible in the run-up to reunification from summer 1990. The treaty on the creation of a monetary, economic and social union between the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany of May 18, 1990 stipulated in Article 4 of the amendment to the law that the provisions specified in Annex III are to be repealed. There it was stated under 19. Amendments and supplements to the Criminal Code that the Criminal Code of the German Democratic Republic would be amended by repealing […] Sections 90, 99, 105, 106, 108, 213 , 219, 249. From July 1, 1990, there was no longer any illegal border crossing .

Reasons to flee

There were many reasons for leaving the Soviet Occupation Zone or the GDR. Of those who fled before the construction of the Berlin Wall , 56% gave political reasons, including 29% the most frequently cited reason being their “rejection of political activity” or “rejection of intelligence services” as well as “conscience and restriction of basic rights”. This was followed with 15% personal or family reasons, with 13% economic reasons, mostly these were “ forced collectivization ” and “ nationalization ”, 10% stated the wish for better income or housing conditions. The motifs remained similar to the GDR until the last few years.

Consequences for the GDR

The refugee movement was a serious problem for the GDR for several reasons:

  • Damage to the economy :
    • The GDR lost well-trained skilled workers who were urgently needed due to the brain drain ;
    • The training of those trained after 1945 was financed by the GDR;
  • Ideological damage:
    • The fact that GDR citizens emigrated in large numbers contradicted the supposed superiority of " real existing socialism ";
    • the foreign policy reputation suffered;
    • GDR refugees reported in the Federal Republic of their reasons for fleeing and the situation in the GDR; West German media and the public broadcasters of the Federal Republic reported on it and made the real conditions in the GDR better known in the West .

Legal position

Assessment under international law

Since the GDR had signed both the “ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ” and the Helsinki Final Act , which guaranteed freedom of movement, the GDR was heard in 1977 and 1984 before the United Nations Human Rights Committee on the conditions on the western border and the associated departure regulations. The GDR invoked Article 12, Paragraph 3 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights :

"Article 12 (3) The above-mentioned rights may only be restricted if this is provided for by law and is necessary for the protection of national security, public order (ordre public), public health, public morality or the rights and freedoms of others Restrictions are compatible with the other rights recognized in this Covenant. "

Legal situation in the GDR

The criminal offense that criminalized an escape from the GDR and its “preparation and attempt” was almost always referred to in the GDR and also in West Germany as a flight from the republic . Leaving the GDR without state approval could be punished with a prison sentence of up to three years in accordance with Section 8 of the GDR Passport Act of September 15, 1954, before the Berlin Wall was erected. The less common designation illegal border crossing was found in Section 213 of the GDR Criminal Code introduced in 1968 . According to Section 213, Paragraph 1, illegal border crossing was punishable by imprisonment for up to two years or with a suspended sentence, imprisonment or a fine. In severe cases, the arrested refugees could be punished with imprisonment from one to five years. The law of June 28, 1979 revised Section 213: The "serious case" now regulated in paragraph 3 provided for a maximum sentence of 8 years' imprisonment, the minimum sentences remained unchanged. According to paragraph 3, points 3 and 4, a serious case already existed if the act z. B. "with particular intensity", "by forging documents" or "taking advantage of a hiding place".

Non-return to the GDR (especially after an approved trip to the West) without a state permit was on the same level as fleeing.

Measures of the GDR

Berlin Wall, 1986

The government of the GDR tried, on the one hand, to keep the number of refugees low through social policy measures , but on the other hand, also through massive barriers to the borders. Since the ordinance on measures on the demarcation line between the German Democratic Republic and the western occupation zones of May 26, 1952, the inner-German border has been massively sealed off, and the Berlin Wall was built from August 13, 1961 .

The border troops of the GDR were supposed to prevent these escape attempts in any case. On the entire inner-German border there were posts of the border troops who also made use of firearms to prevent border breaches ( shooting orders ); mines and self-firing systems were also installed there. As a result, many people were killed trying to get through the barriers to leave the GDR. According to the Berlin “Arbeitsgemeinschaft 13 August”, a total of 1135 people died between 1949 and 1989 in border incidents on the inner-German border. Among them are 200 GDR border guards who were killed by suicide or accidents with firearms. At least 25 border guards were shot while breaching the border on the inner-German border (see deaths among GDR border guards ).

The last victim of the order to shoot was Chris Gueffroy , who died on the Berlin Wall in 1989. Then Winfried Freudenberg was killed in an unsuccessful escape attempt with a light gas balloon.

Preparing for and attempting to flee, as well as failing to report it , were punished. It is estimated that around 75,000 people were convicted of attempting to flee, usually with prison terms of between one and three years, followed by special surveillance by the MfS. Anyone who was armed, damaged border installations, was caught while trying to escape as a member of the army or holding secrets could face up to eight years in prison. The execution of remand and criminal detention in the GDR was tougher than in the Federal Republic of Germany - especially in the case of “political” crimes such as “attempted illegal border crossing”. Between 1,500 and 2,000 people were imprisoned for this reason annually in the 1980s.

Since the end of 1962, many of the prisoners were allowed to leave Germany after being ransomed .

Ways of escape

Remnants of the "bloodiest border in Europe" during the Cold War (between the Czechoslovakia and Austria)

In almost all cases, the aim of the escape was West Germany. Since 1952 after the closure of the inner-German border and the outer border of the GDR to West Berlin sector border between East and West Berlin remained open, use over 60% of the refugees that way, especially with the establishment of the Warsaw Pact and the western borders of Allies of the GDR were similarly secured as the inner-German border.

Those who fled across the Berlin sector border applied for their emergency admission procedure in the Marienfelde emergency reception center and were then transported by air to West Germany, where they were initially housed in refugee camps. The erection of the Berlin Wall in August 1961 brought this mass exodus to an abrupt end. As a result, many tried to flee via third states (states of the Warsaw Pact) from which it was possible to travel on or flee to the Federal Republic (supposedly easy). Escape tunnels in Berlin were spectacular , of which there were at least 39 attempts, such as through tunnels 29 and  57 . Also by air with homemade hot air balloons (see also balloon flight ), sports and agricultural airplanes of GST and Interflug , light aircraft , gliders , diving boats , special trucks, in prepared cow hides, using an overnight built zip line from the House of Ministries and the Baltic came Volatile to the west. These often risky escape routes only account for a few hundred cases each year.

The Danish historian Jesper Clemmensen has determined that from August 13, 1961 to November 9, 1989, about 6000 people tried to escape across the Baltic Sea to Denmark . But only about 1000 of them succeeded, while almost 200 people drowned trying to escape. In 1968 they managed to escape from Kiel with the help of the cruise ship Völkerfreundschaft .

Other escape routes led via Bulgaria to Greece or Yugoslavia . The Turkey was considered as an escape destination. The GDR embassy in Sofia materially rewarded the prevention of such border crossings by Bulgarian border guards. Former Bulgarian border officers gave in the Bulgarian magazine "Anti" in early 1993 that the message of the Bulgarian border guards for each killed GDR refugees a bounty amounting to 2,000 leva (converted about 1,000 German marks ) was paid, also had several days of special leave granted been. "Several dozen" GDR refugees were shot at the borders, including those who had already been arrested several kilometers from the state border. Michael Weber last died there in July 1989 . They were buried on site until 1975. In Hungary and Romania, too, employees of the GDR Ministry for State Security “helped” local security forces to prevent GDR citizens from “illegally crossing the border” into Yugoslavia.

Many people who wanted to flee in the GDR had illusions about the borders of Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria with Yugoslavia during the Cold War. Although Yugoslavia was a communist-ruled country during the Cold War, the border regime of the three Warsaw Pact states on their borders with Yugoslavia was just as rigorous as that with "capitalist foreign countries".

After the wall was built, there was otherwise only a legal stay in the NSW as a means of escape. The authorities ("organs") of the GDR therefore only issued travel permits for people who were viewed as ideologically stable, i.e. politically reliable, had close family ties in the GDR or who were assumed to have little risk of fleeing for other reasons. Membership in the SED was an advantage.

Increasingly, however, a growing number of politically and economically frustrated GDR citizens managed to move to the Federal Republic via third countries. In particular, around 700 East Germans crossed the border from Hungary to Austria in August 1989 at the Pan-European picnic near Sopron (Ödenburg). On the night of September 11, 1989, Hungary opened its border to citizens of the German Democratic Republic. It was precisely this flight of numerous GDR citizens across the now open Hungarian border and via the embassies of the Federal Republic of Germany in Czechoslovakia and Poland that contributed to the so-called " turnaround " that led to German reunification .


According to the then Mayor of Berlin Willy Brandt , 16,000 refugees from the Soviet zone came to West Berlin in August 1958 alone, 2,000 more than in the same month last year. The number of refugees reached a low in 1959 and rose to 200,000 in the following year, over 90% of them to West Berlin. It was possible to escape from the GDR via Berlin until the Wall was built in 1961 because passenger traffic between East and West Berlin was "largely uncontrolled". In 1960 and until the Wall was built in 1961, 400 and 550 people fled to West Berlin every day. That was around 80 percent of the GDR refugees. The escape did not lead to a foreign country, but to the west of divided Germany . Both the residents of the GDR and those of the Federal Republic had German citizenship . After a few years of unwillingness, the Federal Republic turned out to be a receptive and willing country, in which the same language was spoken and the emigrants were entitled to legally anchored assistance. It stayed that way when the GDR introduced its own citizenship for its citizens in 1967 . From the mid-1970s, escape from the republic was at the center of the work of the MfS. In the spring of 1975, on the instructions of Erich Mielke, the Stasi had created a “Central Coordination Group Combating Flight and Resettlement” (ZKG), to which in 1989 446 employees (plus IM and OibE ) belonged. The ZKG kept detailed statistics on successful and attempted escapes.

year successful escape attempts prevented escape attempts Escape cases
column 2 + 5
total Rejections stayers * total Rejections
1976 951 287 286 3,620 191 4,571
1977 927 215 246 3,601 233 4,528
1978 778 118 254 2,886 254 3,664
1979 832 86 340 2,856 259 3,688
1980 872 72 412 3,321 315 4.193
1981 663 129 309 2,912 211 3,575
1982 647 89 326 3,077 131 3,724
1983 697 85 382 2,910 3,607
1984 627 39 291 1,968 59 2,595
1985 627 29 314 1,509 61 2.136
1986 1,539 32 1,299 2.173 34 3.712
1987 3,565 47 3,235 3,006 35 6,571
1988 6,543 68 5,898 4.224 81 10,767
1989 (October 8) 53,576 8,746
* The MfS designated people who did not return to the GDR from a private or business trip to the West as “remaining residents”.

The number of refugees from the construction of the Wall up to and including 1988 according to the Ministry for All-German Issues :

year Refugees
linge 1
of which
crusher 2
13.8. - December 31, 1961 51,624 8,507
1962 16,741 5,761
1963 12,967 3,692
1964 11,864 3,155
1965 11,886 2,329
1966 8,456 1,736
1967 6,385 1,203
1968 4,902 1,135
1969 5,273 1,193
1970 5,047 901
1971 5,843 832
1972 5,537 1,245
1973 6,522 1,842
1974 5,324 969
1975 6.011 673
1976 5.110 610
1977 4.037 721
1978 3,846 461
1979 3,512 463
1980 3,107 424
1981 2,900 298
1982 2,565 283
1983 2,487 228
1984 3,651 192
1985 3,484 160
1986 4,660 210
1987 6.252 288
1988 9,705 590
August 13, 1961-1988 219,698 40.101
1 Germans who left the GDR including Berlin (East) without permission from the authorities there in order to establish a permanent residence in the Federal Republic of Germany including Berlin (West).
2 Refugees who entered the federal territory including Berlin (West) at risk to life and limb.

November 1989 and reunification

During an international press conference with Günter Schabowski on November 9, 1989, he announced new travel regulations for GDR citizens to the West. Immediately afterwards the Berlin Wall was opened and with it the borders of the GDR; all citizens were allowed to leave freely. Furthermore, people left the GDR and later the new federal states heading west. In 1990 this population movement was a main argument for a quick reunification , since no one wanted the depopulation of these areas.

Some West German politicians, on the other hand, considered making it more difficult for East Germans to move. For example , at the end of November 1989, Oskar Lafontaine , then Prime Minister of the Saarland and a member of the SPD, demanded that they no longer be given the citizenship they were entitled to under the Basic Law. However, this was not a majority in the SPD either.

Legal evaluation after 1990

In the so-called first wall rifle ruling, the BGH rejected existing justifications for the use of firearms on the Berlin Wall and the inner-German border in the state practice of the GDR as incompatible with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (IPbpR).

In addition, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on March 22, 2001:

"[...] the application of the order to shoot at the inner-German border therefore constitutes a violation of the protection of life under international law [...] which was internationally recognized by the GDR at the time of the crime" (Art. 6 Pact) ...

The border regime and the order to shoot could also constitute a violation of the right to free movement. The IPbpR ratified by the GDR guarantees the right to freedom of movement in Art. 12, Paragraph 2, as well as Art. 2, Paragraph 2 of the 4th ZP-ECHR. Here too, the Court found that the exception clauses invoked by the applicants were not relevant. He argued that preventing almost the entire population from leaving their state was by no means necessary to protect the security of the state or other interests:

“'[…] Finally, the way in which the GDR enforced the travel ban against its nationals and punished violations of this ban was incompatible with another right guaranteed in the pact, namely the right to life guaranteed in Art this was intervened. '
'The court found that the border system, in particular the order to shoot, was also a violation of the human right to freedom of movement enshrined in the pact.' "

See also



  • Volker Ackermann: The "real" refugee. German expellees and refugees from the GDR 1945–1961 (= studies on historical migration research 1). Osnabrück 1995.
  • Henrik Bispinck: " Flight from the Republic". Escape and emigration as a problem for the GDR leadership . In: Dierk Hoffmann, Michael Schwartz , Hermann Wentker (eds.): Before the building of the wall. Politics and Society of the GDR in the 1950s. Munich 2003, pp. 285-309.
  • Henrik Bispinck: Escape and emigration movements as crisis phenomena: 1953 and 1989 in comparison . In: ders., Jürgen Danyel, Hans-Hermann Hertle , Hermann Wentker (Ed.): Uprising in the Eastern Bloc. On the crisis history of real socialism. Berlin 2004.
  • Walter Fr. Schleser: On the long road to German unity: GDR refugees in Hungary and Austria before a peaceful revolution in their homeland; a contemporary witness report on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989. Vienna 2010, DNB 1005053863 .
  • Federal Ministry for Inner-German Relations (ed.): The construction of the wall through Berlin: the escape from the Soviet zone and the blocking measures of the communist regime of August 13, 1961 in Berlin. Facs.-repr. d. Memorandum from 1961, 1st supplemented edition. Roco-Druck, Wolfenbüttel 1988, OCLC 180482809 .
  • Marion Detjen: A hole in the wall. The history of refugee aid in divided Germany 1961–1989 . Siedler Verlag, Munich 2005, ISBN 978-3-88680-834-2 .
  • Bettina Effner, Helge Heidemeyer (ed.): Escape in divided Germany. be.bra Verlag, Berlin 2005, ISBN 978-3-89809-065-0 .
  • Uwe Gerig (Ed.): We from over there: twenty fates in divided Germany . MUT-Verlag, Asendorf 1989, ISBN 3-89182-038-0 .
  • Helge Heidemeyer : Flight and Immigration from the Soviet Zone / GDR 1945 / 49–1961. The refugee policy of the Federal Republic of Germany up to the construction of the Berlin Wall (= contributions to the history of parliamentarism and political parties 100). Düsseldorf 1994.
  • Elke Kimmel: "... he couldn't be expected to stay longer in the SBZ". GDR refugees in the Marienfelde emergency reception center . Berlin 2009.
  • Damian van Melis, Henrik Bispinck (eds.): Republic flight . Flight and emigration from the Soviet occupation zone / GDR 1945–1961 , Munich 2006.
  • Bodo Müller: Fascination Freedom: The Most Spectacular Escape Stories. Ch. Links Verlag , Berlin 2000, ISBN 3-86153-216-6 .
  • Norbert Nail: Between embarrassment and manipulation. Names for Germans who have left the German Democratic Republic . In: Mutterssprachige 85 (1975), pp. 273-277.
  • Charlotte Oesterreich: The situation in the refugee facilities for GDR immigrants in the 1950s and 1960s. “The ones from the Mau Mau settlement”. Publishing house Dr. Kovač , Hamburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-8300-3498-8 .
  • Gerwin Udke: stay - leave - come back. Emigration from East Germany from 1945 to the present day. Motives, backgrounds, consequences, ways out. Pro Literatur Verlag, Mammendorf 2008, ISBN 3-86611-391-9 .

Cinematic representations

  • SAS 181 does not answer , feature film DEFA 1959.
  • The bald gang , feature film DEFA 1963.
  • Tunnel 28 , feature film 1962. German cinema release on October 22, 1962.
  • Breakthrough locomotive 234 , feature film 1963. German cinema release on October 24, 1963.
  • Freedom Prize , television play 1966.
  • With the wind to the west , feature film 1982. German cinema release on February 12th
  • Der Tunnel (1999) , documentary film 1999. First broadcast on November 6, 1999 on SWR.
  • Der Tunnel (2001) , film drama 2001. First broadcast on 21/22. January 2001 on SAT1.
  • It happened in August - The building of the Berlin Wall , documentary film 2001. First broadcast on August 13, 2001 on ARD.
  • The Sting of the Scorpion , TV movie 2004.
  • Escape to Freedom - With the Courage of Despair , Documentation 2009. First broadcast on September 22, 2009 on ZDF.
  • Escape to Freedom - By All Means , Documentation 2009. First broadcast on September 29, 2009 on ZDF.
  • Böseckendorf - The Night in which a Village Disappeared , TV film 2009. First broadcast on September 22, 2009 on SAT1.
  • Westflug - Entführung aus Liebe , TV film 2010. First broadcast on September 26, 2010 on RTL.

Web links

Commons : Republikflucht  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Bettina Effner, Helge Heidemeyer (ed.): Flight in divided Germany. Marienfelde emergency reception center memorial , be.bra verlag, Berlin 2005, pp. 27/28.
  2. On the trail of a dictatorship Federal Agency for Civic Education
  3. ^ ZDF Politics and Current Affairs October 3, 2004 ( Memento from November 12, 2004 in the Internet Archive )
  4. ^ Federal Agency for Civic Education Refusal of travel permits
  5. Hartmut Wendt: The German migrations - balance sheet of a 40-year history of flight and departure , in: Germany Archive 4, April 1991, issue 24, pp. 386–395, here p. 389
  6. ^ Video (recordings of flight actions and reasons for flight) from the magazine Kontraste from September 27, 1988 on the website of the Federal Agency for Civic Education , as well as text from the Federal Agency from September 30, 2005 - with coincidental film recordings of an escape through the Spree
  7. Passport Law of the German Democratic Republic of September 15, 1954 ( Memento of July 24, 2018 in the Internet Archive ) , “”, accessed on July 24, 2018
  8. Version of § 213 from 1968 and amended version from 1979 ( Memento from June 19, 2018 in the Internet Archive ) , "", accessed on July 24, 2018.
  9. ^ Die Welt The Murderous Balance of the Wall , July 28, 2006
  10. Kurt Frotscher, Horst Liebig: Victims of German division, killed at the border guard , GNN-Verlag, Schkeuditz 2005, ISBN 3-89819-198-2 .
  11. ^ Chronicle of the Wall of the Federal Agency for Civic Education
  12. Sven Kellerhoff: The deadliest border in Europe was not the wall . November 12, 2013
  13. Escape numbers for the different routes
  14. ^ Jörg Mückler: German-German border flights. In: Flieger Revue Extra No. 16, Möller, Berlin 2007, ISSN  0941-889X , pp. 8–35.
  15. Bodo Müller: Fascination Freedom. The most spectacular escape stories . Ch. Links, Berlin 2000, pp. 57-74.
  16. Sebastian Knauer : Altimeter from the flea market , Der Spiegel , October 1, 1999.
  17. “It was all about dying”. Escape from the republic. Escape route Baltic Sea. The story of the Sender family , review by Jamal Tuschick in Der Freitag of December 2, 2014, accessed on January 26, 2018.
  18. Jan Schröter: Via Cuba to Kiel: Jump into the Baltic Sea - Spectacular GDR escape on a cruise , Spiegel Online , March 5, 2020, accessed on March 8, 2020
  19. Elian Ehrenreich: On the trail of an attempted escape from the GDR ., July 23, 2014
  20. One thousand per killing shot , one day
  21. ^ Escape route Bulgaria , excerpt from an article by Stefan Appelius in issue 71 of the magazine Horch und Guck , March 2011.
  22. Routine handling of GDR refugees. Interview with Hansjörg Eiff . Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk , June 17, 2019
  23. ^ Yugoslavia - The "foreign friend" of the GDR ., June 17, 2013
  24. Farina Münch: Failed escape via Hungary through the Danube to the west. 1st December 1984 . Leibniz Center for Contemporary History Research (ZZF)
  25. Stefan Appelius: Extended Wall. Escape route Romania . 2011
  26. ^ Manfred Görtemaker : History of the Federal Republic of Germany. From the foundation to the present . CH Beck, Munich 1999, p. 725.
  27. ^ Before the Wall was built: Willy Brandt on refugees from the GDR. In: Original speech by Willy Brandt in front of the Berlin Senate on September 4, 1958. SWR2 Archivradio: Fluchtpunkt Deutschland, December 22, 2015, accessed on October 16, 2017 .
  28. GDR pictures photos. Retrieved November 8, 2017 .
  29. According to the figures in Horst Ulrich, Uwe Prell, Ernst Luuk: Berlin Handbook. The lexicon of the federal capital . FAB-Verlag, Berlin 1992, ISBN 3-927551-27-9 , p. 310, there also “largely uncontrolled”.
  30. Gerhard A. Ritter: The human "storm surge" from the "Eastern Zone" , in: Bettina Effner, Helge Heidemeyer (ed.): Flight around divided Germany. Marienfelde emergency reception center memorial , be.bra verlag, Berlin 2005, pp. 33–47, here pp. 33–35 and 45.
  31. Bernd Eisenfeld : The central coordination group combating flight and relocation . In: Klaus-Dietmar Henke , Siegfried Suckut, Clemens Vollnhals , Walter Süß , Roger Engelmann (eds.): Anatomie der Staatssicherheit -Geschichte, structure and methods , MfS-Handbuch, Berlin 1996, The Federal Commissioner for the Documents of the State Security Service of the former Germans Democratic Republic, Online , p. 49.
  32. ^ Gerhard A. Ritter / Merith Niehuss: Elections in Germany, page 46
  33. ^ Werner Weidenfeld / Karl-Rudolf Korte (ed.): Handbook on German Unity. 1949–1989–1999 , Campus Publisher: Frankfurt am Main u. a. 1999, p. 806.
  34. Legal opinion of the BGH ( Memento from March 13, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  35. European Court of Human Rights ( Memento of March 3, 2008 in the Internet Archive )