Gießen Reception Center
Am Güterbahnhof 10, 35398 Giessen, Germany
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The last hurdle

Dostupné v: English | Deutsch

Sigrid Richter crossed the inner German border on November 11, 1986. After having spent 4,5 years in a prison, the government of West Germany paid for her release to the FRG. Her first stay in the West was the reception center for the fugitives from the East in Gießen. However, she only spent a short time there with her husband. They were soon picked up and taken care of by their friends from Dortmund. Starting a new life in West Germany wasn’t quite easy. Richter first had to deal with the necessary paperwork and visit the relevant authorities. It took a while before she got used to taking care of everything on her own. In the Soviet system, the state had directed her life and made all the decisions for her. Finally, Sigrid Richter was able to start a new life with her husband and son in Bochum.

Sigrid Richter

Sigrid Richter

Sigrid Richter was born in 1952 in Mecklenburg. She spent her childhood and youth in the GDR. Her school years as well as her studies were unburdened by problems. Shortly before the completion of her studies for a teacher, she met her future husband. However, his curriculum vitae had a major flaw: he was the son of a West-German father. This fact potently complicated their life and it was only through the relationship with her husband that Richter learned the hard way that life in the GDR could be very problematic indeed. This made her grew critical of the regime. Finally, Richter decided to emigrate with her family. As she had believed that the GDR was a state of law, she applies for a permission to leave the country in 1982. However, by this act she attracted the attention of the Stasi – the East-German secret security police – to the family. A putative messenger contacted the family with the offer to arrange an illegal emigration. Although the Richter family turned his offer down, they were nonetheless incarcerated for not having reported the messenger to the police. Thus they fell into the trap that had been staged by the Stasi. Richter was put into the Hoheneck female prison - separated from son and husband. After four and a half years, she and her husband were freed in exchange for payment by the Federal Republic of Germany. After a short time, the spouses managed to get their son to the West as well and thus the family was able to reunite.

Gießen Reception Center

Dostupné v: English | Deutsch

The first refugee camp in Gießen was founded right after WWII in order to solve the then prevailing housing shortage. A former hotel was converted to a reception center and gradually, in the light of new immigration, in particular that of refugees from the Soviet Union and East Germany, more and more buildings were converted to emergency refugee camps. Both, the wave of incoming refugees as well as the construction of a modern emergency refugee camp resulted in the construction of a new, modern building for the same purpose. Since the 1960s, the number of refugees went down sharply, in particular of refugees from the GDR. Therefore, the camp was converted to a dormitory for student nurses and finally to a school.

Gießen Reception Center

Na tomto místě

The last hurdle

The last hurdle

Sigrid Richter
The way to freedom

The way to freedom

Frank Plunze
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