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Thread: OT: Berlin Wall Run

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    Default OT: Berlin Wall Run



    yeah walls, never a good idea.

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    Default Re: OT: Berlin Wall Run

    Ideas don't stop for walls.
    Jay Dwight

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    Default Re: OT: Berlin Wall Run

    Quote Originally Posted by vertical_doug View Post


    yeah walls, never a good idea.
    Speaking of the Berlin Wall, I'm reminded of this article about the guy who escaped himself and returned to help dozens more escape via a tunnel he helped to construct. Truly heroic stuff against the banality of evil.

    I was lucky. I managed to cross into West Berlin using a smuggled Swiss passport. I had to leave my girlfriend, Christa, and family behind, thinking I would never see them again. I’d told my parents of my plan, but not Christa: I thought our relationship would be over. When I arrived in West Berlin, I had nothing but the clothes I was wearing. I got some state support as a refugee, and enrolled at another university, but I missed Christa and my family.

    By now, border procedures had tightened up, and some school friends and I decided we would tunnel under the wall to help others get out. A friend put us in touch with other tunnel-digging students in need of manpower. We were part of a few successful projects; I had the skills to survey the tunnels, but other diggers were medical or philosophy students.

    We would make a deep pit in the soil and, as a team, dig 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in 12-hour shifts over several months. Lying on our backs, we pushed the spade in 10cm each time, and used a wagon attached to a rope to remove the dirt. The tunnels were 140 metres long, 80cm high and 80cm wide – small enough to dig quickly but big enough to turn around in. While it was claustrophobic, my real fear was the border guards and Stasi, who were listening for movement beneath the ground and digging their own tunnels to intercept ours.

    Some diggers were shot by the Stasi as they emerged in the east; one tunnel was compromised when a girl who hoped to escape was overheard by an informant. About 20 people were sent to prison for planning to escape through it. Christa was among them. I felt guilty, and angry, but there was nothing I could do.
    The icing on the cake comes later though, re: other civil engineering projects in which he partook.

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