Tri-border area, border river
Hinterprex 19, 95194 Regnitzlosau, Germany
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Crossing the border

Available in: English | Deutsch

Andreas Schumann decided to flee from the GDR after he had realized that his career possibilities were rather limited in the communist country. As an employee of the Water-Management Directorate, he was able to illegally obtain a permit to cross the border and under the false pretext of taking water samples from a border river, on November 3, 1988, he set out to the border. He recalls: “Earlier that day, I was picked up by car, a driver took me to the border where I had to report, my border pass was checked and I had to submit my papers. I put on my working clothes and accompanied by two border guards of the National People’s Army, I set my foot onto this salient of the sovereign territory of the GDR. Behind me, the fence was closed again.” Now came the tricky part of his undertaking: he had to choose the right place and the right moment to cross the border river and shake of his guards, despite the fact that this entailed risking his life. He continued: “Then I found a place that was exactly at the intersection of Czechoslovakia, East Germany and Bavaria. That was the spot where a border crossing seemed to be possible. So at that moment, I seized my opportunity. I stepped into the water, took a sample and then had to make the decision. That was the moment – back to the GDR or run in the opposite direction? If I had turned around and returned, nothing would have happened. They would have opened the fence again for me; I would have gotten into that car and would have been with my family in the evening. I decided for the second option – to run in the other direction with the risk of being shot or just caught and brought back in the effort to escape into the Federal Republic of Germany. There was nobody around for miles. It was risky and dangerous; life-threatening I’d say today.” Nevertheless, he ran and managed to shake off the soldiers and get to the other side. Luckily, they didn't open fire at him.

Andreas Schumann

Andreas Schumann

Andreas Schumann was born in Zwickau on October 27, 1953, and experienced a relaxed childhood. After completing his graduation, he became the deputy director of the Water-Management Directorate in Magdeburg in 1984. In this position, he soon realized that the career possibilities were rather limited in the GDR. On top of that, he was hindered in achieving the goals personally dear to him. Therefore he decided to leave his family for the time being and flee to the West. To this end, he moved his field of activity to a district which had a long border with Bavaria. Acting on a pretext, on November 3, 1988, he went on a trip to a border river, ostensibly to obtain water samples. In fact, however, his plan was to cross the border on that day with an illegally acquired pass in his pocket. He waited for a suitable moment and then took the opportunity and made a getaway across the border river. He managed to shake off the border guards that had originally accompanied him and on the Bavarian side of the border and he knocked on the door of the first farm he encountered. A very surprised farmer’s family was the first one to provide a friendly reception and assistance to him. He was subsequently forwarded to the U.S. occupation authorities and then passed through the admission procedure of the FRG. With the help of his family members, friends and acquaintances, as well as a lot of hard work, he managed to start from scratch and after the fall of the Wall on November 9, 1989, he was finally able to reunite with his wife and daughter again.

Tri-border area, border river

Available in: English | Deutsch

On November 3, 1988, Andreas Schumann escaped at this spot across a border river from the GDR to the FRG. In this place the borders of 3 countries adjoined: GDR, FRG, and Czechoslovakia.

Tri-border area, border river

On this place

Crossing the border

Crossing the border

Andreas Schumann
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