|Died||22 August 1961 58) (aged|
|Cause of death||Fall injuries|
|Body discovered|| Bernauer Strasse 48|
|Resting place||Urnenfriedhof Seestraße Berlin-Wedding |
|Monuments||"Window Of Remembrance", Berlin|
|Known for||First casualty at the Berlin Wall|
Ida Siekmann (23 August 1902 – 22 August 1961) was a German nurse who became the first known person to die at the Berlin Wall, only nine days after the beginning of its construction.
Ida Siekmann was born on 23 August 1902, in Gorken near Marienwerder, West Prussia in the German Empire (now Górki, Kwidzyn County, Poland). She had moved to Berlin where she worked as a nurse, and by August 1961 was already a widow, although it is not known when she was widowed.Siekmann lived at Bernauer Straße 48 in the district of Mitte, and had a sister, Martha L., who lived only a few blocks away on Lortzingstraße.
After World War II, Berlin was divided into four Allied sectors, and while the street and the sidewalk of the Bernauer Straße lay in the French sector of West Berlin, the frontage of the buildings on the southern side lay in the Soviet sector of East Berlin. Siekmann regularly crossed the border between the French and Soviet sectors just by leaving her house.Siekmann's sister at Lortzingstraße was located in the French sector of West Berlin.
On 13 August 1961, East Germany began the construction of the Berlin Wall, and immediately after the border between East and West Berlin was closed numerous families and individuals from 50 Bernauer Straße addresses fled to the West.On 18 August 1961, East German leader Walter Ulbricht ordered the border troops to brick up the entrances and windows on the ground floor of the buildings on the southern side of the street. Members of the Combat Groups of the Working Class and Volkspolizei controlled every person who tried to enter the houses, and the residents were subject to rigid controls, even in the hallways. Many residents of such tenements still fled to West Berlin, as residents of the upper floors were often rescued by jumping sheets held open by the West Berlin fire department.
On 21 August, the entrance and windows of Bernauer Straße 48 were being barred by the East German authorities. The following morning, the day before her 59th birthday, Siekmann threw a quilt and some possessions down onto the street in West Berlin before she jumped out of the window of her fourth-floor (by North American standards, third floor by German standards) apartment. Siekmann jumped before the firefighters were able to properly open the jumping sheet, and was severely injured when she fell on the pavement.Siekmann died while on her way to the Lazarus Hospital shortly after the fall, thus becoming the first known casualty at the Berlin Wall.
Siekmann was buried at the Seestraße cemetery on 29 August; in September a memorial was erected at Bernauer Straße 48. The memorial was often visited by foreign politicians, including Robert F. Kennedy and Archbishop Makarios, to honour the victims of the Berlin Wall.
The houses on the southern side of Bernauer Straße were torn down in 1963 and replaced by a concrete wall.
The Berlin Wall was a guarded concrete barrier that physically and ideologically divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989. Construction of the wall was commenced by the German Democratic Republic on 13 August 1961. The Wall cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany, including East Berlin. The barrier included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, accompanied by a wide area that contained anti-vehicle trenches, beds of nails and other defenses. The Eastern Bloc portrayed the Wall as protecting its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the "will of the people" from building a socialist state in East Germany.
Wedding is a locality in the borough of Mitte, Berlin, Germany and was a separate borough in the north-western inner city until it was fused with Tiergarten and Mitte in Berlin's 2001 administrative reform. At the same time the eastern half of the former borough of Wedding—on the other side of Reinickendorfer Straße—was separated as the new locality of Gesundbrunnen.
Peter Fechter was a German bricklayer who became the twenty-seventh known person to die at the Berlin Wall. Fechter was 18 years old when he was shot and killed by East German border guards while trying to cross over to West Berlin.
Hans Konrad Schumann was an East German border guard who escaped to West Germany during the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961.
Bernauer Straße is a street of Berlin situated between the localities of Gesundbrunnen and Mitte, today both belonging to the Mitte borough. It runs from the Mauerpark at the corner of Prenzlauer Berg to the Nordbahnhof. The street's name refers to the town of Bernau bei Berlin, situated in Brandenburg.
Günter Litfin was a German tailor who became the second known person to die at the Berlin Wall. Litfin was the first victim to be killed by East German border troops, the first to succumb to gunshot wounds, and was the first male victim.
Gesundbrunnen is a locality (Ortsteil) of Berlin in the borough (Bezirk) of Mitte. It was created as a separate entity by the 2001 administrative reform, formerly the eastern half of the former Wedding district and locality. Gesundbrunnen has the highest percentage of non-German residents of any Berlin locality, at 35.1% as of the end of 2008.
The Chapel of Reconciliation is a place of worship in Berlin, Germany. It stands on the site of the old Church of Reconciliation (de), on Bernauer Strasse in the Mitte district.
Heinz Sokolowski was a German man who became the sixty-fourth known person to die at the Berlin Wall. Sokolowski, a former political prisoner, was shot and killed by East German border troops while attempting to cross the Berlin Wall near to the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag building.
Oranienburger Vorstadt is a historic district of Berlin in what is now the northwestern part of Mitte and the adjacent Gesundbrunnen area, in the modern Mitte borough.
The Ackerstraße is a street in Berlin which runs northwest from near the Liesenstraße – Scheringstraße traffic circle in Gesundbrunnen to Invalidenstraße, where it turns south, terminating at the Linienstraße in Mitte.
The Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer commemorates the division of Berlin by the Berlin Wall and the deaths that occurred there. The monument was created in 1998 by the Federal Republic of Germany and the Federal State of Berlin. It is located on Bernauer Straße at the corner of Ackerstraße and includes a Chapel of Reconciliation, the Berlin Wall Documentation Centre, a 60-metre (200 ft) section of the former border, a window of remembrance and a visitor center.
Hildegard Johanna Maria Trabant was an East German woman who became the fiftieth known person to die at the Berlin Wall. Trabant was shot and killed by East German border guards during a crossing attempt, one of only eight women victims of the Berlin Wall, and was the only escapee victim known to have a record of loyalty toward the East German regime.
Dorit Schmiel was a German seamstress who became the thirteenth known person to die at the Berlin Wall. Schmiel was fatally shot by East German border guards while attempting to escape from East Berlin to West Berlin with a group of friends, including her fiancé. Schmiel was one of only eight women to die at the Berlin Wall, and at 20 years-old was the second youngest woman victim.
Klaus Brueske was a German truck driver who became the sixteenth person to die at the Berlin Wall. Brueske died in an attempt to break through the Heinrich-Heine-Straße border crossing in a truck, and was the first Berlin Wall victim to die from suffocation.
Udo Düllick was one of the first to die at the Berlin wall. He drowned while fleeing in the Spree river between Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg near the Oberbaumbrücke in Berlin, Germany.
Olga Segler was a German woman who died of injuries as a result of crossing the Berlin Wall.
Rudolf Urban was a German man who died as a result of injuries sustained while crossing the Berlin Wall.
Barbed Wire Sunday, is the name given to 13 August 1961, when the military and police of East Germany closed the border between East and West Berlin and began the construction of what would become the Berlin Wall. The intention of closing the border was to prevent the migration of East Germans to the West.