Ida Siekmann - the first Berlin Wall victim

On this day: Ida Siekmann becomes the first known victim of the Berlin Wall

On this day: Fatally injured fleeing from East Berlin, Ida Siekmann becomes the first known victim of the Berlin Wall. (August 22nd 1961)

In the early hours of August 22nd 1961, Ida Siekmann leapt from the window of her 4th floor apartment in East Berlin. Although her apartment was located in the East of the city, the pavement below on Bernauer Strasse, by quirk of the city’s boundaries, lay in the West Berlin district of Wedding.

Following the construction of the initial stages of the Berlin Wall nine days earlier, desperate residents jumping from their apartment windows on the south side of Bernauer Strasse to the West generic metformin xr side of the city became a common sight.

Berlin police report of Ida Siekmann's death
The Berlin police report of Ida Siekmann's death

Many were assisted by the West Berlin fire brigade. Some caught in a desperate tug-a-war with the East German border guards.

Not wanting to draw attention to herself, Ida Siekmann decided to forgo waiting for help, instead throwing bedsheets onto the ground below, hoping to cushion her fall. Misjudging her leap, she hit the pavement.

Badly injured from the fall, Ida Siekmann died on her way to the nearby Lazarus Hospital – one day before her 59th birthday. Once the West Berlin fire brigade removed her body, the blood stain she had left behind was covered in sand before being swept away.

To learn more about Berlin’s Cold War history consider joining one of our Cold War Berlin Private Tours.

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