A German Fate At The Fence Of Barbed Wire
Some of our followers may recognize these photos from when we first posted them on the 50th anniversary of Berlin Wall in August of 2011: Making the Impossible Decision. With their family unexpectedly divided by the fledgling Berlin Wall, the mother makes a split-second decision to pass her son over the wire to her husband during a momentary lapse by the border guards.
Do you know who this family is?
On June 26, 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech that electrified a crowd gathered in the shadow of the Berlin Wall. As he paid tribute to the spirit of Berliners and to their quest for freedom, the crowd roared with approval upon hearing the the President’s dramatic pronouncement, “Ich bin ein Berliner” (I am a Berliner).
President Kennedy used this handwritten note card while delivering his speech. On it, he phonetically spelled German phrases from his speech, including “Ish bin ein Bearleener.” Read More
“GAP IN THE WALL—Communist border guards inspect a gap in the Berlin wall where two East German construction workers broke through and escaped to freedom in early April. The refugees rammed the wall with a heavy truck and then fled on foot into the French Sector of West Berlin when their truck stalled in the rubble. The East German guards fired several shots at them but missed. In the background are Communist military vehicles posted after the incident to prevent further escapes.” April 1962
August 17, 1962 - Peter Fechter is killed trying to cross the Berlin Wall.
One year after the construction of the Berlin Wall, Peter Fechter was killed by East German border guards.
The original caption:
The Death of A Refugee
Shot in the back while trying to escape over the Berlin Wall, Peter Fechter, 18, lay suffering for more than an hour while the Communist border guards who had fatally wounded him looked on impassively. Marks in the sand were made from Fechter’s bloody hand as the boy writhed in pain and called for help.
August 1961 - Creating the “Dead Zone” at the Berlin Wall
Making the Impossible Decision
On August 12, 1961, immediately before the construction of the Berlin Wall this couple makes the decision to pass their son over barbed wire to West Berlin.
The original caption:
A German fate at the fence of barbed wire!
It may be that a couple from Berlin will never see each other again because it became separated by the drawing of the line across Berlin. On August 12, one day before Ulbricht had ordered to surround West Berlin with barbed wire, a man was flying into West Berlin. His wife should follow him a few days later as the little son was still in a holiday-camp. In the meantime the nearly impenetrable “iron curtain” was drawn around West Berlin. The couple met at the fence of barbed wire. The “Vopo” guard was indulgent and allowed the meeting. The couple discussed their situation and they decided that the little son shall grow up in freedom. At a moment when the “Vopo” did not watch them the mother handed the child over the barbed wire.
GENERAL SECRETARY GORBACHEV, IF YOU SEEK PEACE — IF YOU SEEK PROSPERITY FOR THE SOVIET UNION AND EASTERN EUROPE — IF YOU SEEK LIBERALIZATION: COME HERE, TO THIS GATE.
MR. GORBACHEV, OPEN THIS GATE.
MR. GORBACHEV, TEAR DOWN THIS WALL.