Concept

Killing of Peter Fechter

Summary
Peter Fechter (14 January 1944 – 17 August 1962) 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. Berlin Wall Peter Fechter was born on 14 January 1944, in Berlin, Germany, during the final years of World War II. Fechter was the third of four children, and raised in the Weißensee district of Berlin. His father was a mechanical engineer and his mother was a saleswoman. Fechter finished school at the age of 14, and graduated as a bricklayer. After World War II had ended, Weißensee was located in the Soviet occupation zone of Berlin when the city was divided during the Allied Occupation, with the Soviet Sector later becoming East Berlin in East Germany. Fechter's eldest sister had married and now lived in West Berlin, where she was regularly visited by her parents and siblings. On 13 August 1961, the East German authorities abruptly closed the border and began construction of the Berlin Wall, effectively separating Fechter and his family from his sister in West Berlin. Fechter's colleague, Helmut Kulbeik, later stated that he and Fechter had been contemplating defecting to West Berlin for a while, and that they had also explored the border installations, but no concrete planning was ever made at the time. Shortly after, Fechter was denied a legally sanctioned trip to West Germany by his company, despite receiving good judgement. On 17 August 1962, around one year after the construction of the Berlin Wall, Fechter and Helmut Kulbeik attempted to flee from East Germany. The plan was to hide in a carpenter's workshop near the wall on Zimmerstrasse and, after observing the border guards from there, to jump out of a window into the "death-strip" (a strip running between the main wall and a parallel fence which they had recently started to construct), run across it, and climb over the two-metre (6.5 ft) wall topped with barbed wire into the Kreuzberg district of West Berlin near Checkpoint Charlie.
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