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East German death strip exodus 'still traumatic'

The Local · 26 May 2012, 13:55

Published: 26 May 2012 13:55 GMT+02:00

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Sascha Möbius was speaking on Saturday's 60th anniversary of the day when the East German (GDR) government started reinforcing the border between what would become east and west Germany - and forcing those in the way to move.

On May 26, 1952, in a “blitz” action, the GDR government started forcing people out of their homes in what would become the border area.

The government started to shore up the border and created a no-man’s land between the east German side and the complex of walls and fences which eventually sealed off the country.

The border zone was five kilometres wide and extended to the entire 1,394 kilometre border, Die Welt newspaper wrote on Saturday. Watch towers, wired fences and a 500-metre wide protective strip often seeded with landmines that could only be accessed during the day and with special permission were erected.

This made it impossible for east Germans to cross to the west along the border with the latter.

It was still possible to escape through Berlin, as the underground ran through the city, but this option was eliminated with the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961.

Many of the more than 8,000 people deported remain traumatized, Möbius told the MDR broadcaster, calling for them to be offered a pension in recognition of that.

Story continues below…

DAPD/The Local/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:33 May 26, 2012 by The-ex-pat
DDR forces deportation, "West" Germany has to compensate..............
17:44 May 26, 2012 by Bushdiver
This will mean another 30 years of solidarity taxes.
19:57 May 26, 2012 by deutscherMann
Nun, was sagen Sie zu Millionen von deutschen Familien gezwungen, Schlesien und Pommern verlassen. Es ist wie die Amerikaner zurück zu Großbritannien von Indianern zu erzwingen.
11:25 May 27, 2012 by Sayer
Methinks that pragmatism, for which Germans are supposedly famous, should be directed towards the future, not the past. Time to stop all the craw-thumpin' and 'reparations' (to the miraculously expanding number of 'survivors' 70 years later). German demographics and lag in technological innovation should be the focus, not hand-wringing and 'mea-culpas', especially when the vast majority of folks alive here today had nothing to do with anything during that era.
12:31 May 27, 2012 by Bushdiver
@ Sayer..........I agree with you totally. Out of the supposedly 8000 survivors still alive which I highly doubt they should be more concerned with the future and let the past rest. Always looking for a free ticket for something that most people today had nothing to do with.
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