Sneaking to freedom from East Berlin to West in a modified BMW Isetta

Within the years following World Warfare II and up till 1989, Germany was a divided nation, and its capital metropolis of Berlin lay proper on the border, in truth, the border bisected it.

There was a wall — the Berlin Wall, which got here down 30 years in the past, successfully ending the Cold War — separating the extra liberal, Westernized West aspect of town — managed by the Western Allies after World Warfare 2. East Berlin was given to the Soviets after WW2 and was reworked into the German Democratic Republic (GDR), a repressive police state managed by the Soviet Union.

Many individuals who lived underneath the GDR sought to flee to Western Germany however weren’t allowed to take action. Because of this, many tried to cross the border illegally, which may imply that they’d be shot (it is at the least 327 individuals had been) or on the very least, imprisoned in the event that they had been caught.

The border, whereas closely guarded and controlled, wasn’t fully closed. West German residents had been commonly allowed to cross for enterprise functions or to go to household. This gave some enterprising Germans a method to assist others escape the GDR.

Klaus-Günter Jacobi helped his finest good friend escape East Berlin in a modified BMW Isetta.


 In 1963, a person named Klaus-Günter Jacobi determined to assist his finest good friend escape East Berlin and earlier than being compelled to report for responsibility within the East German military. To take action, he determined to change his BMW Isetta to have the ability to disguise a physique.

Now, in the event you’re not particularly accustomed to the Isetta, it is a tiny bubble automotive with a motorbike engine on the again and barely sufficient room for 2 individuals to sit down within the bench seat behind the entrance opening door. House is at a premium, however Jacobi — who had skilled as a mechanic — discovered that there was a lifeless house behind his seat and subsequent to the Isetta’s tiny engine that might be used to smuggle an individual.

He modified his automotive and crossed into East Berlin one evening, picked up his good friend and set about making the crossing again into West Germany. He made it via the border, and his concept — the modified Isetta — was used to ultimately smuggle 9 different East Berliners to the West.

BMW determined to have a good time Klaus-Gunter’s ingenuity and produced a brief movie of the ordeal. It is a fairly unbelievable story, and if you wish to learn extra about it, BMW has it documented extensively on its website.

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