Evidence that East German borders guards had a clear ‘license to kill’ anyone who tried to cross the country borders. By the way, I just love how the BBC uses the communist term ‘defectors’. So leaving a totalitarian, communist hell-hole counts as ‘defection’? WTF?
But I digress.
Border guards in East Germany during the Cold War were given clear orders to shoot at attempted defectors, including children, a senior official says.
The seven-page document dated 1 October 1973, was found last week in an archive in the eastern city of Magdeburg, among the papers of an East German border guard.
I am sure it was not the only document in existence. At least there is some tangible evidence now. It reads:
Do not hesitate with the use of a firearm, including when the border breakouts involve women and children, which the traitors have already frequently taken advantage of.
This has not come as a surprise to me. What was a surprise is this has not been officially known, confirmed, understood before. It is as if the societies that went through (and were complicit in) the communist ordeal are reluctant to confront the full horrors, the corruption and destruction that were at their core for decades.
I whole heartedly agree with Marianne Birthler, director of the government office that now manages Stasi archives, when she says.
We have a long way to go in reckoning with the past.
Barely started, I would add.