The escapes of the Bethke brothers

I was watching The History Channel this morning and caught part of a show featuring the escapes from East Germany to West Germany. The stories of the Bethke brothers were pretty amazing.

In 1975, Ingo Bethke served as a soldier for East Germany. He grew fed up with the regime and wanted to see the world. Since he was stationed along a portion of the border, he knew what he was up against to escape. On the night of May 22, 1975, he had cut a small hole in the border fence. He passed the minefield by using a wooden block to check the ground in front of him. Finally, he inflated an air mattress to swim across the Elbe river, avoiding patrol boats.

Holger Bethke, Ingo’s younger brother, escaped the GDR on March 31, 1983, using a steel cable and wooden pulleys. Holger and a friend managed to shoot an arrow pulling the cable from the attic of a five story apartment in the East across the Berlin Wall, where Ingo was waiting in a house in West Berlin. The pulleys didn’t get them all the way across and they had to shimmy along the wire hanging over the Berlin Wall’s “Death strip”.

A few years later, the two brothers flew into the East Berlin from the West to pick up their youngest brother, Egbert, around 4 am on May 26, 1989. They painted two ultralights with Soviet markings and dressed in military uniforms with microphones. One brother landed in Treptower Park in East Berlin to grab their brother hiding in bushes, while the other brother circled above watching for danger. They videotaped the whole ordeal.

I tried to find video online but it was all in German. If you have a chance check out Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall on The History Channel.

Berliner Nacht-Taxe episode online

If you’ve ever wanted to watch me sit in a cab for a TV show, looking around aimlessly while a few other people speak in a foreign language I don’t understand, then today is your lucky Monday. I guess my clips about being able to drink on the street and write on stuff and pointing out the Berlin Wall as we drive by, will undoubtedly be on the DVD extras.

Me & YashaBerliner Nacht-Taxe (6) | rbb Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg…

In der sechsten Folge der Berliner Nacht-Taxe hat Michael Kessler ein Ganoven-P√§rchen an Bord. Jaqueline, eine badische Bordsteinschwalbe und Luigi, ein Mann mit k√ľnstlichem Bart und einer Hand immer am Abzug.

You can watch it here.

Skip ahead to around the 18:30 minute mark, unless you know your German and want to watch the entire episode. Props to my cab mates, Yasha and CANTWO!

And oh yeah, Mike G, look at that product placement for you!