Tunnel 57

A woman crawls through Tunnel 57 to escape East Germany.

Tunnel 57 was a tunnel under the Berlin Wall that on 3 and 4 October 1964 was the location of a mass escape by 57 East Berlin citizens to West Berlin. Built from the basement of an empty bakery at 97 Bernauer Straße in West Berlin, under the Berlin Wall – which at that time and place consisted of empty, bricked up apartment buildings on the east side of Bernauer Straße – all the way to a disused outhouse in the rear courtyard at 55 Strelitzer Straße in East Berlin. At a depth of 12 meters, and a length of 145 meters, Tunnel 57 was the longest, deepest and most expensive flight tunnel built in Berlin. 35 West Berliners, including Wolfgang Fuchs, the future astronaut Reinhard Furrer, and many students from the Freie University in West Berlin, helped to build the tunnel from April till October 1964, until on 3 and 4 October 57 people fled the GDR via the tunnel. Some of the organisers of the tunnel – the so-called couriers – had made contact with 120 people in East Berlin and planned for their escape. These couriers would bring them to the apartment building at 55 Strelitzer Straße and into the courtyard, where Reinhard Furrer would show them to the tunnel entrance in the disused outhouse. Amongst those 120 people who were planned to escape was a collaborator with the Stasi, the East German secret police. On 4 October around midnight, the second night of fleeing, two Stasi officers in plain clothes presented at the entrance, claiming they wanted to flee, and had another friend they wanted to fetch to come as well. When they returned not with a friend but with border guards, one of the helpers, Christian Zobel, shot at the guards, hitting Egon Schultz on the shoulder. He fell to the ground, and, while trying to get up again, was fatally shot by friendly fire from one of his fellow officers. Seeking to use the incident for propaganda, the East Berlin press reported on the following day that “West Berlin terrorists” had murdered a border guard. …”
Smithsonian: The Story of the Most Successful Tunnel Escape in the History of the Berlin Wall
Remembering a Daring Escape Beneath the Berlin Wall
NY Times: Escape From East Berlin
YouTube: Escape tunnel in Bernauer Strasse from East to West Berlin, The Tunnel (1962) Full Documentary (escape under the Berlin Wall)

A woman in a tunnel at Bernauer Strasse, East Berlin, through which 57 people escaped in 1964.

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