Imagine scaling an electricity pole in the dead of night, a bitterly cold wind rushing past your ears, and tiptoeing along a power cable through the skies of Berlin. This is exactly where trapeze artist Horst Klein found himself after being banned from performing in East Berlin for his anti-communist beliefs.
He eventually fell to the ground after becoming fatigued, but fortunately landed in West Berlin. Despite two broken arms he was finally free from the communist holds of the East. But he wasn’t the only one to risk his life.
30 years ago, on 9th November 1989, the Berlin Wall fell and the people of Berlin were liberated after being separated for almost three decades. But during the years that the Berlin Wall stood, hundreds of people followed Klein’s example, with each one having to find their own creative way to defect to the West.
A homemade hot air balloon
Two friends who worked as mechanics used their skills to build a hot air balloon. They had a little help from their wives too, who stitched together bed sheets to make the actual balloon. In September 1979 the couples and their children climbed into the balloon and floated through the skies over the wall into the freedom of the West.
The last train to freedom
In 1961 not long after the wall was erected, Harry Deterling found himself driving a train down a disused railway track. As a railway engineer he knew this track led to gap where the Berlin Wall had not yet been completed. After piling his friends and family on board, Deterling drove the train at high speed through the gap in the barrier and into West Berlin. The gap was sealed by East German guards the next day, giving the train its nickname “the last train to freedom”.
In a stolen tank
An East German soldier stole a tank in 1963 and drove it straight into the wall in the hope that it would break through. The force wasn’t enough to destroy the wall so instead the soldier was forced to climb out on top of the tank and up onto the wall. Under gunfire from the East German border guards he got stuck in barbed wire, and shot twice. Fortunately West Germans came to his aid and rescued him.
In a convertible with no windshield
Checkpoint Charlie, was the scene of a successful, and bold, escape by Heinz Meixner. He rented a red Austin-Healy Sprite, chosen because the car itself only measured 90cm high. This was vital for Mexiner’s plan. He removed the windshield and let out a little air from the tires to lower the car even more, drove to Checkpoint Charlie (with his girlfriend and mother in law hidden in the back) and drove straight under the barrier into the West.
On an air mattress
One man who was so familiar with the banks of the River Elbe, which ran through Berlin, used an air mattress as a makeshift raft. Under the cover of darkness and with a trusted friend, the pair navigated a metal fence and the muddy riverbank. They climbed on board the mattress and silently paddled along the river into West Germany.
This month marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. On the night the wall came down celebrations continued throughout the city into the early hours of the morning as friends and families reunited. Today, little remains of the wall as it was almost entirely destroyed, but the legacy of that night and the wall lives on.
If you’re interested….
You can own an ORIGINAL piece of the Berlin Wall along with a coin from both East and West Germany. And just think, this might even be the very piece that Horst Klein walked over! But it’s already over 60% sold so you’ll need to act fast. Check out the video to see Adam explain what makes this set so special or click here to order yours today >>
The Stories of British Coins Collection includes 16 of the most remarkable coins from over 200 years of British history, but many of them are in high demand and difficult to source, especially those which are historic artefacts in their own right!
Join Adam as he unboxes a fascinating coin collection that together tells the story of Britain.
I am sure we have all dreamt of stumbling across a dusty old stamp collection or long forgotten silver coin secretly worth a small fortune hiding somewhere in the house.
Unfortunately I am yet to stumble across my fortune in the attic, but this dream recently came true for a grandmother from Hull when she found a 1644 Oxford Crown in her late grandfather’s coin collection.
While clearing out her attic she found a shoebox of coins she had inherited from her grandfather decades ago. She initially offered the collection to her children, who rejected what they saw as ‘worthless junk’.
She then considered binning her collection of relics, before making the decision to have the coins valued along with a number of other family heirlooms.
That’s when she discovered that amongst her collection was the incredibly rare 1644 Charles I Oxford Silver Crown. This coin was struck for just one year and is considered by many numismatic experts to be one of the most beautiful British coins ever produced.
Struck in 1644, this crown was minted while the country was in the midst of a Civil War. The coin features a portrait of King Charles I on horseback placed against a fantastic rendition of the City of Oxford which was his headquarters during the English Civil War.
It is no wonder that this coin is so highly valued. It is incredibly rare, the design is one of the most intricate ever struck on a British coin and it marks one of the most significant moments in our nation’s history – the English Civil War.
The historic coin is expected to reach in excess of £100,000 at auction and the owner plans to use the money to help her granddaughter, currently expecting her first child, to fund a house deposit.
I think it’s time for me to have another dig around in the attic!
If you’re interested…
For those not planning on bidding in the auction for this exceptionally rare coin, we have a limited stock of just 36 Silver-plated replicas available of the beautiful 1644 Oxford Crown. Click here to find out more >>>