A film by Dirk Simon
On November 4, 1980, an East German border guard defects to the West while his comrade is left dying at the Berlin Wall - was it self-defense or murder?
Between the Lines is among the first German documentaries to explore the complexities and tragedies endured by those who served as border guards on the Berlin Wall. Director Dirk Simon tells the true story of two border guards: Ulrich Steinhauer and Egon Bunge. Both had been drafted in the East German army and posted on the Berlin Wall to guard the East-West border from people trying to cross illegally. In November 1980, while on patrol, Bunge decided to carry out his own plan of escape, and in the process, killed Corporal Steinhauer. Simon recreates the spirit of the time and introduces viewers to the human character of both Egon and Ulrich. The documentary portrays the guards in the context of their personal life against the backdrop of the propaganda of the regime The broader political context of the Cold War illuminates certain procedural problems on the part of the West German justice system in terms of trying fugitives from East Germany who had committed crimes in order to escape the regime.
(drafted by Kristina Terzieva, Program Assistant, History and Public Policy Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington DC)
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