Günter Litfin


Günter Litfin

Günter Litfin (January 19, 1937 in BerlinAugust 24, 1961 in Berlin) was the second victim at the Berlin Wall, and the first to succumb to gunshots.

The tailor from the borough of Weißensee, like his father, was a member of the illegal local chapter of the West German Christian Democrats. Litfin was already working in the West, near the Zoological Garden, and had already found a flat in the western part of the city. Even on August 12, one day before the first barbed wire fences were built, he had driven to Charlottenburg with his brother, to furnish his new flat. His intention to escape East Germany was abruptly halted the next morning, as road blocks had already been built. Therefore, around four p.m. on August 24, he undertook the escape attempt that would prove fatal to him.

Starting from Humboldthafen, a small harbour in the River Spree, his plan was to swim through a small canal branching off from the river westwards. However, upon crossing the railway bridge that constituted the border, he was discovered by officers of the transportation police, and was ordered to swim back. He lifted his hands from the water and was then shot on and mortally wounded.

In memory of Günter Litfin as well as all other victims of the Wall, a memorial was installed in 1992. Additionally, a street in his home district of Weißensee was named after him.

Reference

* Jürgen Litfin: "Tod durch fremde Hand. Das erste Maueropfer in Berlin und die Geschichte einer Familie." Verlag der Nation, Husum 2006


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