An escape attempt gone wrong results in imprisonment
In 1981, Wilfried Elsner tried to cross the border to the West near Letenye. Elsner, a citizen of the GDR, got into conflict with the ruling regime because of his political views. His career as a teacher was hampered and as he saw no opportunity for himself to advance professionally in the GDR, Elsner tried to leave the country. Together with three other people from West Germany, he travelled in a West-German car to the border checkpoint near Letenye. His plan was to get out of the car shortly before the actual checkpoint and to enter Yugoslavia through a little river located on the border called Mur. However, the car was stopped five kilometers before the border crossing by soldiers and the occupants were checked. The West-German passports were uninteresting for the soldiers but as soon as they spotted Elsner’s East-German passport, it was clear to them that he wanted to flee across the border. Wilfried Elsner and the other occupants were immediately arrested and taken to a garrison near to Letenye. Wilfried Elsner was transferred to the GDR and sentenced to 18 months in prison. After serving 10 months, he was ransomed by the government of the FRG.