posted at 23:50
Author Name: Deborah Cole
Escape across Berlin Wall, then back for heroic rescues
Richter, now 66, loved to swim in the sparkling lakes of Potsdam as a teenager living behind the Iron Curtain, quietly dreaming of liberty and adventure in the West. Richter would have more luck just seven months later with a reckless plan: swimming across the Teltow Canal separating the East German region of Brandenburg from West Berlin. Having cleared only a short distance, past border guards with shoot-to-kill orders, Richter had arrived in a different world. Richter managed to help more than 30 friends and acquaintances to the West by ferrying them to freedom in his car's boot. The terrified couple was yanked from the car and Richter seized by the guards. Richter tried to feed mounting unrest in the East, printing propaganda fliers against the regime which he tossed over the Wall. Richter raced to the Brandenburg Gate in the heart of the city, then to the Bornholmer Strasse border crossing "Where I saw an endless stream of people coming through and we wept together". Richter is pleased that the days of such high drama are now over.

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