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2 East German Guards Flee, Celebrate at Tavern in West

August 19, 1986|From Times Wire Services

WEST BERLIN — Two East German border guards bolted from their watchtower and scaled the Berlin Wall into the West, then went to a nearby tavern where patrons treated them to beers to celebrate their escape, police said Monday.

The two guards made their escape at a sparsely guarded area of the wall, between Gross-Ziethen, an East Berlin suburb, and West Berlin's Neukoelln district at about 7 p.m., a West Berlin police spokesman, Axel Pettner, said.

They told police that no one saw them as one guard boosted the other up on his shoulders to reach the top of the 13-foot wall. The soldier on top then pulled the second man up behind him, Pettner said.

They threw their weapons back over the wall and walked to the West Berlin tavern to announce the escape, Pettner said.

West Berlin police did not release the identities of the escapees or additional details.

Dressed in Uniform

Police said the two border guards, dressed in East German army uniforms--one a 24-year-old corporal and the other a 21-year-old private--reported that they had become acquainted two weeks ago while on duty together and decided to flee.

Police said the married corporal made a telephone call to East Berlin to announce he was in the West. They said the corporal reported that his relationship with his wife had grown strained before his defection.

The escape, similar to another one at the same spot by two border guards three years ago, came five days after the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the building of the wall by the East Germans.

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