East German border guard Conrad Schumann leaps into the French Sector of West Berlin over barbed wire on August 15, 1961.
Born in Leutewitz near Riesa, Schumann served as a soldier in the East German Bereitschaftspolizei. After three months’ training in Dresden, he was posted to a non-commissioned officers’ college in Potsdam, after which he volunteered for service in Berlin.
On 15 August 1961 he found himself, aged 19, guarding the Berlin Wall, then in its third day of construction, at the corner of RuppinerstraÃŸe and BernauerstraÃŸe. At that stage of construction, the Berlin Wall was only a low barbed wire fence. As the people on the Western side shouted Komm rÃ¼ber! (“come over”), Schumann jumped the barbed wire and was driven away at high speeds by a waiting West Berlin police car. Photographer Peter Leibing captured a photograph of his escape on film and it became a well-known image of the Cold War.
Photographer: Peter Leibing