Berlin Wall: Father and daughter who risked lives crossing three months before it fell

Her little body curled tightly against her father, Peggy playfully lifted her finger to her lips in the inky darkness of the cramped car boot as if to say “Hush”. Hans-Peter Spitzner couldn’t see the seven-year-old’s gesture, or the smile he guessed went with it, but he could feel the movement through the sweltering air. It was a huge relief. Because it told him she wasn’t petrified – not like he was. Just as he’d told her, she was playing a silent game of hide-and-seek as they lay motionless in the boot of a stranger’s car waiting to pass through Checkpoint Charlie on the Eastern side of the Berlin Wall. A cry, a cough or a sneeze and the guards circling the vehicle would fling open the boot. For Hans-Peter – at best – it would mean separation from his child and prison. At worst, the border police would open fire indiscriminately. This was August 1989 and Hans-Peter, on the watchlist of the East German Stasi – the feared secret police – was making a bold bid for freedom in the West with his daughter. Three months later, on November 9, the Berlin Wall would fall after 28 years dividing… Read full this story

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