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Germany Hopes to Identify People Killed at Its Cold War Internal Border

by Kathy Jones on August 11, 2012 at 9:23 PM
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 Germany Hopes to Identify People Killed at Its Cold War Internal Border

The German government announced that it will be attempting to identify hundreds of people who died along its internal border during the Cold War as a number of people from the communist East Germany tried to flee to the more democratic West.

While research into deaths at the Berlin Wall was completed in 2009, there has been no official effort so far to clarify the number and names of those killed along the longer border between the former East and West Germany.

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Researcher Klaus Schroeder, of Berlin's Free University, who is leading the three-year project, said he believes 500 to 700 people died along the nearly 1,400 kilometre (nearly 870 mile) border between 1949 und 1989.

"The results of the project are not only for clarity over the number of victims but to restore to the dead a name, a face and their dignity," Culture Minister Bernd Neumann said.
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The project, funded with some 500,000 euros ($613,100), is to be wrapped up by the end of 2015 when short biographies of the victims will be made available on the Internet, officials said.

Its launch comes ahead of Monday's anniversary of the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961.

Official research puts the number of deaths at the Berlin Wall alone at 136, but the numbers are disputed due partly to different criteria.

A new list published by the Checkpoint Charlie Museum, marking Berlin's iconic Cold War border crossing, says the number of people who died trying to flee East Germany was 1,676.

Its list is a "working document" and the figure is "not definitive", it said, adding this year that it had included German deaths at the borders of Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria.

Source: AFP
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