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August 9th, 2000 · No Comments

August 9, 2000 Berlin Layover

Day 223

After having such an interesting tour by bicycle the previous day, I decided to continue my exploration of Berlin on a bike, by myself. I just rode up and down a few streets enjoying the morning smells and getting a feel for the city. I ended up back at the Checkpoint Charlie Museum.

At first I planned on just locking my bike to a utility pole while I went in the museum. While making a postcard purchase, I asked the sales lady if it was safe to leave my bike on the street and she said, “No! Please bring it in here, this area is famous for thieves!” So I gladly strolled my bike into her store. She opened the rear door leading to a lovely courtyard and motioned for me to lock my bike up there. I was so delighted and relieved to have a “safe” place for my bike to rest, now I could enjoy the museum.

The Checkpoint Charlie Museum is an amazing place with remarkable stories of the courageous people who found ways to escape to the west. I was so impressed, I took pictures of the exhibits as follows:

The picture in the middle of the street has an American solder on one side and a Soviet solder on the other.

The first self-built escape aircraft manufactured parts were only a Trabant car motor, tank and wheels. All other parts even the propeller were self made. Escaped August 4 1984

The escape of the decade took two families (8 people) on the night of 9-16-79  up in a hot air balloon.  Up to that time the largest hot air balloon in Europe, 1250 square meters for fabric 28 meters high 20 meters wide floated 12 kilometers over the communist line it took a breathtaking 28 minutes.

The families had no prior ballooning experience.  They merely read research in books, building the balloon in the privacy of a forest.

They had to climb 2000+ meters to go above the searchlights to avoid being captured.

This mini submarine was a revolutionizing invention thanks to an escape. The first mini submarine with internal combustion motor (gas) transports 1 or 2 persons.  On September 9, 1968 it covered a distance of 16 miles from the Baltic Sea coast of GDR to Denmark. Upon arrival a West German firm hired him to develop a new and faster series!

This contraption was used by two men to ride the power lines over the border.  They figured the best time to escape would be when it was raining.  That way the guards would not be likely to look up.  They choose a rainy night during an electrical storm. Their bravery worked, they successfully escaped.

This satirical photo was taken from actual artwork on “The Wall”.  It depicts Soviet Premier Brezshnev locked in a mouth to mouth kiss with East German leader Erich Honecker, over the caption “my god, help me to survive this deadly love.”

Tags: Germany · Northern Europe