The Escape of Bernd Boettger

** Daring underwater escape from East Germany**

All attempts to escape from East Germany deserve admiration but Bernd Boettger’s is undoubtedly one of the greatest and most fascinating. Although not technically a naval/military topic the historical context and ingenious engineering involved fits with the wider SDV narrative.

At the end of WW2 Germany was divided between Soviet Russia and the Western allies, specifically US, UK and France. As the Cold War set in those living in East Germany found themselves on the disadvantaged and oppressed side of the divide and a steady stream of people moving from East to West began. The authoritarian communist regime caught on to this fact and set about preventing people from escaping the socialist paradise in usual Soviet fashion. Starting in 1961 they built the famous Berlin Wall with its multiple layers of concrete, barbed wire, guard towers, automatic guns and hungry German Shepherd dogs. It was not a defense against invasion; it was designed solely to keep the oppressed masses in. And it was not just in Berlin, the border extended north and south dividing the whole of Germany in two. Following it northwards, it eventually came to a sandy beach where it petered out into the cold waters of the Baltic. It was here that Bernd Boettger was to make his escape.