Border, Escaping, Contemporary Witnesses, West, East

Mass escape tunnel at Bernauer Straße

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October 1964: A spectacular mass escape. West Berlin students have dug a tunnel to East Berlin at Bernauer Strasse. It is one hundred and forty-five metres long and goes as deep as 12 metres below the earth. It has taken half a year to dig this escape tunnel and it is the longest, deepest and most successful to date, enabling 57 people to escape from East to West.

Peter Schulenburg, who was a law student at that time, is one of the escape helpers. Driven by idealism, he practically leads a double life to ensure no one finds out about his secret activities. Not even his girlfriend. During one escape attempt, shots are fired and GDR border guard Egon Schulz dies. Peter Schulenburg only finds out what really happened that night decades later when he gains access to Stasi files.

The Berlin Wall Memorial is the central memorial site documenting Germany's partition, located at the historic site of Bernauer Strasse:


  • Berlin, Bernauer Straße