At least 136 killed at Berlin Wall, study shows

Tue Aug 11, 2009 1:04pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Caroline Copley

BERLIN (Reuters) - At least 136 people were killed at the Berlin Wall between 1961 and 1989, researchers leading the first detailed study into victims' deaths said Tuesday.

The findings are the result of a four-year project between the Berlin Wall Memorial and the Center of Historical Research in Potsdam.

Culture Minister Bernd Neumann said it was important for younger generations to remember the brutality of the past, especially this year in which Germans celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall, a key event in the collapse of communist rule in eastern Europe.

"It's very important to explain what it was really like and to highlight the inhumane consequences," Neumann told reporters.

"The project restores the victims' dignity," he said, adding that a recent tendency to trivialize the crimes of the former Communist regime in East Germany made such projects essential.

His ministry gave 280,000 euros ($397,000) to the project, which deals specifically with deaths at the Wall in Berlin.

There is no official figure for the number of people killed outside Berlin on the long border that divided Germany, but German media have estimated that toll at 1,347.

The Berlin Wall was erected almost exactly 48 years ago and divided the former and present German capital -- and Europe -- for nearly four decades during the Cold War.   Continued...