Not seeing the hill for the trees
The forest surrounding the Tillenberg Hill (Dyleň) became the scene of an exciting escape story in April 1972. Although the Tillenberg is almost 1,000 meters high, the young runaway couple, Hans Heine and his girlfriend from East Berlin, had trouble to find the hill amidst the dense forest. “When you’re in the forest, you can’t see very far. I thought that I’d use the Tillenberg as it is called in German, or Dyleň in Czech, as a reference point. We wanted to go past the hill. But in that jungle, it was hard to see anything and we simply missed the hill.” Instead of the hill which was supposed to serve as a landmark, the couple marched directly towards the border fence and the watchtowers. “We made sure to walk slowly and carefully, very carefully. We came to a place where the ground started to decline and it went slightly downhill. At this spot, the forest was somewhat lighter and I discerned in the distance black columns positioned periodically. You could see them from a distance. It looked unnatural at first glance and so we carefully crawled a little closer and then I spotted that it was the fence that went through the middle of the forest. When I looked to the left and right, I saw watchtowers showing through the trees.” The couple spent a long time hidden in a bush with eyes glued to the guards with Kalashnikovs and dogs in the watchtowers. In an appropriate moment, they jumped up and escaped over the fence. Then they made it out of the death zone and crossed the demarcation line. In this way the two managed to escape to Bavaria.