East german escape balloon

The vast population of rejected-but-not-deported immigrants, few of them with Muradi’s academic skills, could well form an urban underclass with neither jobs nor state support. Nevertheless, the reason why it is imaginable, if just barely, that Germany will succeed in the daunting task of integration is that the entire economy is organized as a conveyer belt toward employment. The refugees constitute a kind of stress test of that system. According to figures compiled by the Jobs Center, the social service agency that has been assigned to work with refugees, about 40 percent of adult refugees in Dresden have a ninth-grade education or less. And as Jan Pratzka, head of the Jobs Center in Dresden, pointed out to me, the ninth grade in Eritrea might equal the fourth grade in Germany.

East German border guards had a standard procedure to follow if they detected unauthorised individuals in the border zone. (Though the West Germans referred to the control strip as a "death strip", deadly force could be used at any location along the border – it did not depend on an individual's being in, or crossing, the control strip.) If the individual was less than 100 metres (330 ft) away, the border guard would first order: "Stop! Border sentry! Hands up!" ( "Halt! Grenzposten! Hände hoch!" ) or "Stop, stand still, or I will shoot!" ( "Halt! Stehenbleiben, oder ich schieße!" ). If the individual was further away or on the Western side of the border fence the guard was authorised to shoot without warning. If the escapee was a fellow border guard, he could be shot immediately from any distance without prior warning. Border guards were instructed not to shoot if innocent bystanders might be hit or if the escapee had made it into West German territory, or if the line of fire was into West Germany. In practice, though, shots fired from East Germany often landed in West German territory. [25]

The excavators, meanwhile, labored every night in the tunnel into early December. The final fifty feet were the most difficult to dig, as the tunnel plunged as far down as fourteen feet to go under a drainage ditch and the adjoining roadbed. Diggers worked by the light of a bare bulb strung on an electric wire connected to the bathhouse socket. The insulation covering the wire was badly worn in places, and everyone suffered painful shocks as they bumped against it in the tight confines of the tunnel, which was less than three feet in diameter.

East german escape balloon

east german escape balloon


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