Through the Lens of a 'DDR-Flüchtling'
After World World II, when the territory of former Nazi Germany was divided between the Allies, the term "DDR-flüchtling(e)’’ (deserter(s) of the DDR) was a term used to describe those who left the communist ’’Deutsche Demokratische Republik’’ to go to the capitalist ‘’Federal Republic of Germany’’ in the West. Or from East Berlin to West Berlin.
However, after the construction of the Berlin Wall by the DDR in 1961, emigration from the East to the West without prior government approval became heavily criminalised - punishable by imprisonment or by death.
So how did inhabitants in the East escape the paternalism of the ‘’Sozialistische Einheitpartei Deutschlands’’ and move to the western areas?
Displayed on the 5th floor of the House of European History’s permanent exhibition, is the diving suit created and worn by one man from East Berlin who successfully fled to West Berlin through the icy waters of the Jungfernsee.
Born in the Adlershof district of East Berlin in 1942, Hubert Hohlbein risked his life to escape with his friends after the Berlin Wall was built, and emigrating became much more difficult, and dangerous.
In a once in a lifetime event, Hohlbein will come to the House of European History to tell the story of his dangerous escape, and how he joined the student group, led by Wolfgang Fuchs, to help dig the famous escape route, ‘’Tunnel 57’’ which allowed his mother and 56 others to also flee East Berlin in 1964.
Join him onsite or online to enjoy this fascinating and rare recount of oral history.
After the talk, participants (both online and onsite) will have the opportunity to ask questions and take part in a discussion.
Note this talk will be in German only.
Register now as spaces are extremely limited.