Published on January 7th, 2022
From 1949 to 1990, the German Democratic Republic (GDR) – also known as East Germany – was a symbol of the Cold War. Ruled by the Soviet Union, the Deutsche Demokratische Republik saw about three million of the country’s 17 million citizens leaving the country searching for freedom and a better life.
Leaving East Germany meant, in most cases, escaping East Germany.
The communist regime didn’t allow people to leave the country, except if they were members of minority ethnic groups returning to their homelands or if their citizens were to reunite with their families. As a result, East Germans had to be creative and effective to complete their leap into freedom.
The Baltic Sea was one of the options, with Denmark or Sweden as final destinations.
The Berlin Wall, which divided East Germany and West Germany, began to be erected on August 13, 1961. Before and after this iconic moment in world history, between 17 and 189 people lost their lives trying to cross the Baltic Sea.
In 1973, Dirk Deckert and Karsten Klünder dared to dream. – Full story