Longing for freedom
All that the nearly 18-year-old Manfred Matthies wanted to do was to get away from home. Getting away from home also meant to getting out of the GDR and to West Germany. In 1959 - before the construction of the Wall – this was still possible. All it took was a clever train ride through divided Berlin. Matthies, his mother, and sister took the rush-hour train from Magdeburg to East Berlin and they told the officials that they were on their way to visit Matthies’ brother in Greifswald - a credible explanation. In Potsdam, they changed trains for the S-Bahn. Then, instead of going all the way to the Ostbahnhof train station they got off the train at the first West-Berlin station in Wannsee. Their first stop thereafter was the reception camp for East-German refugees in Berlin-Marienfelde.