▷ “Our history – 50 years of transit route”: Hubertus Meyer-Burckhardt remembers in …

24.10.2021 – 11:00

NDR North German Broadcasting

Hamburg (ots)

On December 17, 1971, the world looked excitedly into what was then the federal capital of Bonn: the state secretaries of the FRG and GDR, Egon Bahr and Michael Kohl, signed the so-called transit agreement. Ten years after the Wall was built, it also laid down the travel regulations to West Berlin via the territory of the GDR. The northernmost of the four transit routes was trunk road 5 from Lauenburg in Schleswig-Holstein to Berlin-Staaken – 238 kilometers through the former GDR, which also ran through localities. The NDR documentary “Our story – 50 years of transit route” tells the story of the route, of forbidden encounters, failed escapes and risky border crossings. NDR television will show the 90-minute film on Thursday, October 28th, at 8.15 p.m. He comes to the ARD media library four days earlier – on Sunday, October 24th. The documentation is supplemented by a detailed online dossier with historical backgrounds and contemporary witness reports at NDR.de/transitlinie.

For the documentation in the style of a road movie, the presenter Hubertus Meyer-Burckhardt embarks on a historical journey along the F 5. For him, it is part of his youth. As a student and later as an assistant director in Berlin and Hamburg, “I drove the route countless times,” he recalls. “It happened once. What was always particularly feared: The car broke down. Towing costs: 800 DM in cash, otherwise the car would have been confiscated.”

The contemporary witnesses, who tell their story parallel to the road movie, also let the viewers participate in their sometimes dramatic experiences. Hartmut Richter remembers how he helped 33 people escape – and was caught with his sister on the 34th attempt. In 1975 he was imprisoned in Potsdam for “subversive trafficking in human beings”. His sister is still suffering from what happened today. Harald Schmitt speaks of the “large portion of cordiality” of the people in the GDR – as an accredited journalist for the “Stern” magazine, unlike other transit travelers, he was allowed to stop on the route, talk to people and take photos. “I quickly understood how the people in the GDR and at the F 5 ticked. I got close to them.”

Achim Knablowski was the border guard of the national people’s army in Berlin Staaken, at the end of the F5 just before the west. He must do something about what the Americans have done in Vietnam! Most recently he was a trainer at the NCO School and at the Stasi. In November 1989 his life was also in disarray – the GDR regime wavered, and then it no longer existed. Achim Knablowski left State Security in December 1989. What happened there no longer fit into his picture. – He never wanted to live in the West.

Rare archive material and elaborate game scenes complement Hubertus Meyer-Burckhardt’s journey and open up a glimpse of a time that people in the north have not forgotten to this day.

Broadcast date: Thursday, October 28th, 8:15 pm, NDR television; from Sunday, October 24th in the ARD media library

Press contact:

Northern German Radio
Corporate communication
Press and communication
Iris Bents
Tel.: 040/4156-2304
Mail: [email protected]

Original content by: NDR Norddeutscher Rundfunk, transmitted by news aktuell


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