Inside Media

Escaping East Germany

KAS Washington will co-host event with the German Embassy and Newseum im remembrance of the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.


Throughout the Cold War, the border between East and West Germany seemed impenetrable. But despite the risk, some East Germans still found the courage to cross the border.

In commemorating the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in collaboration with the German Embassy Washington and the Newseum will host a public, live recorded panel dicussion featuring former East German citizens, who will share the stories their incredible journeys out of East Germany:

Ralph Kabisch constructed an underground tunnel beneath the Berlin Wall in 1961, allowing 57 East Germans to escape to the West. After authorities discovered what later become known as “Tunnel 57,” they stepped up their security efforts to prevent future underground escape attempts.

Toralf Pilz fled to the West in 1988 by crossing through Hungary and the former Yugoslavia. An exceptional athlete, he and a friend swam to freedom across the Danube River, which was part of the Iron Curtain separating Western Europe from Soviet-controlled Eastern Europe.

Kabisch later became a tunnel construction engineer and is now retired. Pilz is a German diplomat currently employed in the Caucasus.

Günter Nooke, a member of the first democratically elected Parliament of the GDR, and currently an adviser to Chancellor Angela Merkel

Dr. Maria Nooke, who runs the Berlin Wall Memorial, is the assistant director of the Berlin Wall Foundation and director of the refugee camp Marienfelde memorial site.

This event is open to the public.

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Newseum, Knight TV Studio, 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC


„Ich habe nicht zurück geschaut“: Veranstaltung zur Erinnerung an den Fall der Mauer 1989
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Dr. Lars Hänsel


Head of the Department Europe and North America

Lars.Haensel@kas.de +49 30 26996-3526 +49 30 26996-53526

Syreta Haggray

Syreta  Haggray bild

Project Manager

syreta.haggray@kas.de +1 202 464 5845