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The last person to be killed at the Berlin Wall Chris Gueffroy's mother, Karin, painfully recounts the night that border guards shot and killed her son at the Wall.
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Surrounded and isolated: West Berlin was a stronghold of the West deep within East Germany. Nop problem with drink driving: East Germans didn't have a second thought about being caught over the limit - the waiting list for a Trabant car was ten to 15 years long.
But while booze blinded the common man to his lot, the politburo actually saw alcohol abuse as a decadent western disease. While booze had no place on the production lines of the West German factories churning out the 'economic miracle', East German plants resembled industrial pubs.'It was a societal thing,' said Mr Kochan. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. We use cookies to enhance your visit to our site and to bring you advertisements that might interest you. When the East German government built the Berlin Wall in 1961 to prevent its citizens from leaving, the regime failed to take into account the ingenuity and creativity of those willing to risk anything to escape the communist system. Mr Herschel, who escaped to West Germany with a forged passport in 1961, dug several illegal tunnels under the wall, the first in September 1962.
Twenty-nine people fled through that shaft, making it one of the most successful tunnel projects at the time.


Often tunnels were discovered before they could be used by the border troops or the Stasi, East Germany's dreaded secret police. Tours usually start at a labyrinthine Cold War bunker in the bustling immigrant neighbourhood of Wedding. In the first months after the erection of the Berlin Wall on 13 August 1961, about 600 refugees got away through the city's canals and the subway system but, by the end of 1961, East German border troops had sealed off access completely. The longest of all the helter-skelter rides that Berliners have taken through the playground of history ended in 1989 when the Berlin Wall shattered into a million souvenirs.The Berlin Wall was the ugly, concrete obstacle that for more than a generation (from 1961 to 1989) split the city and divided its families. But Mr Adenauer knew West Berlin was a major thorn in the side of the Soviets and their East German puppets. While some flew over the barrier in hot air balloons, others sailed far around it, via the Baltic Sea, and still others were smuggled across, hidden in secret compartments in cars. Its entrance was hidden in a house on the eastern side of the border, right across from the wall on Bernauer Strasse, according to Mr Herschel's sister Anita Moeller, who helped him to cross.
Here, the association has created an illustrative model tunnel equipped with buckets, shovels and a little wooden box wagon like those used to carry out excavated soil. It is a chronicle of how in the workers' paradise every person - from child to oap - drank an average of 143 litres of beer, 12 litres of wine and 16 litres of spirits a year. But several hundred took advantage of the soft, sandy soil under Berlin to tunnel their way beneath the wall.Today, almost 20 years after the wall's demise, Berlin's Cold War-era bunker and tunnel system has become one of the most popular attractions for tourists and locals alike.
Some were like small tubes, barely big enough to crawl through, while others were tall enough to stand up in. Researchers estimate that 136 people died trying to cross the wall and about 750 perished along the entire 856 miles of the border separating East and West Germany.


The light in the bunker is dim, and fluorescent paint from the Cold War-era glows on the walls, creating an eerie atmosphere. It was higher than any other country in the Soviet empire.The book, named after a 40 percent vodka produced by the state, details how the country of 17 million lacked basic foodstuffs, building materials, clothes, consumer goods of every type - but was awash with booze. And their guide is often Hasso Herschel, who, in the 1960s and 1970s, helped dozens escape through the secret tunnels, some of which he dug with his own hands. It took between three days and six months to dig the various constructions completed between October 1961 and April 1982. Later, groups move on to Bernauer Strasse in the neighbourhood of Mitte, one of the most popular spots for tunnel diggers at the time, due to the high amount of clay in the soil. But their dream turned into a nightmare as over time the Wall poisoned, corrupted and brutalized the little world it encircled.
Last month, the city honoured Siegfried Noffke and Dieter Hoetger, who were caught by East German authorities on 12 June 1962, while digging a tunnel.
In The Secret Life of the Berlin Wall, the dreams and nightmares come dramatically back to life as the spies, informers, double agents and interrogators of Cold War Berlin weave their nervy spells of double lives and double dealing.Walls divide the world into two and this is a film with two faces - flawed heroes and heroic villains, traitors, compromised victories and sad defeats.




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