On this day in 1961, an East German border guard decided to leap to the West over the barbed wire that had been put up across Berlin two days earlier--the precursor to the Wall, which would be erected in the days ahead. His name was Conrad Schumann and a photo of him in mid-leap would prove to be iconic, to this day. I recently visited the spot where it happened. There's also a statue of him making the leap on display. Schumann, unfortunately, later suffered from depression--and would hang himself from a tree.
is author of a dozen books (click on covers at right), including the new "THE TUNNELS: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill." He was the longtime editor of Editor & Publisher. Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @GregMitch