Eberswalde
Eberswalde Hbf, 16225 Eberswalde, Germany
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A secret flight at night

Available in: English | Deutsch

On December 22, 1958, a young girl barely sixteen years old named Louise Justen boarded a train from Eberswalde to the west to escape her brutal foster aunt and reunite with her mother. She was assisted by a priest who had been helping her plan her escape for three years before she actually carried out her plan. “Planning the flight was slow. The pastor and I had to meet secretly. If my aunt had learned about it, they would have reported him and he would been removed from his position. We’d secretly meet in the cinema, hiding in the crowd. He’d also slip me notes and in our conversations in the cinema we pretended to talk about the Church. It was crucial to study every detail of the escape plan. A friend of mine knew about my intentions. Then, in December, the day of my escape came. The priest got a train ticket for me and my friend helped me to smuggle clothing out of the flat of my aunt. She stood underneath the bathroom window and I passed her some of my clothes through the window. Every time I threw out some clothes, I flushed the toilet. She picked all of it up and put it in a bag. Then we met outside, just a few blocks away from the flat. She waited for me and then she accompanied me to the train station,” she recalled. In this way Luise Justen managed to escape from her foster home and a few hours later happily crossed the border to the West.

Luise Justen

Luise Justen

Luise Justen was born on May 16, 1944, in Eberswalde near Berlin. She grew up as a post-war child and was raised in a difficult foster family, her childhood marked by hardship and violence. It doesn’t come as a surprise therefore that already early on she had the desire to reunite with her biological mother in the West. In her effort, she was assisted by a priest who helped her plan her escape. After three years of preparations, she finally fled on December 22, 1959, at the age of only sixteen years, with the S-Bahn from the Friedrichstraße in East Berlin to Bernkastel-Kues in the West. There she worked as a housekeeper until meeting Felix Justen – a friend of her mother – whom she married. They had three children together but gradually she grew tired of her tyrannical father-in-law and decided to flee with her children to Wiesbaden-Medenbach, where she still lives today.

Eberswalde

Available in: English | Deutsch

The town of Eberswalde, about 50km north-east of Berlin, is also known by the name “forest town,” inspired by the vast surrounding forested area which is used for both recreational and commercial purposes. The importance of the town and the surrounding forests is also reflected in the fact that the State Forestry Academy temporarily had its seat in the town. Founded in the 13th century, the Finowkanal has always been the dominant feature of the town with its famous and recently renovated boat-lifting facility. Since the 1940s, the city has been an important railway junction and until the collapse of the wall, it housed a variety of industries. In 1945, the town was badly damaged by bombing, but it has since been rebuilt.

Eberswalde

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A secret flight at night

A secret flight at night

Luise Justen
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