THE WALL, 1962
Heidelberger Strasse, divided by the Wall, at Treptower, with early guard tower. (photo courtesy Berliner Unterwelten)
THE WALL, 2016
Along Bernauer Strasse, school kids write or draw impressions on remnant of Wall. (photo by Greg Mitchell)
VIDEO: THE COMING OF THE WALL
A minor, but key character, in the book is Franz Baake. He was a young documentary film-maker who was moonlighting as a publicist for the MGM movie Tunnel 28 when it was shooting in Berlin in 1962. The Bernauer tunnelers came to him and he helped them arrange their deal with NBC. The short film he had a completed on the early months of the Wall went on to win a top prize at the Berlin Film Festival. That’s it above in its entirety (he updated it a year later to include JFK’s visit). I found him and interviewed him for the book.
NBC “TUNNEL” TEAM
They filmed the NBC documentary: fabled producer Reuven Frank second from left and correspondent Piers Anderton at right, on Bernauer Strasse–windows boarded-up behind them by East Germany to prevent escapes. (photo courtesy Birgitta Anderton)
AT THE OPENING
Piers Anderton at mouth of “his” tunnel, under a swizzle stick factory off Bernauer Strasse in West Berlin (photo courtesy of Birgitta Anderton)
FIRST THROUGH THE TUNNEL
Eveline Schmidt and daughter Annett were first to enter “NBC tunnel” on September 14, 1962.
THE “NBC TUNNEL” CAME OUT HERE
Building at 7 Schonholzer, two blocks from the Wall in the former East Berlin, recently renovated, 2016 (photo by Greg Mitchell).
WALL OF DEATH
Haunting memorial along Bernauer where photos of 131 of those killed at the Wall are posted, with remnant of the Wall behind them. (photo by Greg Mitchell)
VIDEO: MURDER OF A TUNNELER
This is an important episode at the very start of my narrative, in March 1962, as digger Heinz Jercha, in the process of helping many flee, is shot and killed by East German police and Stasi.
Some of those killed at Wall, including the most famous, Peter Fechter, slain by GDR guards in August 1962 as they and the Americans left him to bleed to death next to the Wall (he is 3rd from right in middle row). The photos are on translucent material allowing you to see the Wall behind them. (Photo by Greg Mitchell)
PETER FECHTER MEMORIAL
Just a block or two from Checkpoint Charlie: row of cobblestones trace path of Wall with the big red circle marking where Fechter fell in the East. The memorial on sidewalk would be in the West. Many visitors leave flowers here. (Photo by Greg Mitchell)
VIDEO: THE DAY FECHTER WAS SHOT
Historic footage, shot over the Wall from the West, including scenes of the youth (finally) carried away by East German guards.
RUSK AND KENNEDY
The Secretary of State and the President collaborated in halting the CBS tunnel film and delaylng NBC’s special. (Photo courtesy JFK Library).