East German Soldier Escaping the Border (1961)
During the Cold War era when Berlin was divided into East and West, tensions were high and the then Berlin Wall was a mere barbed wire fence. Two young men were about to make history as one ran to the other side whilst the other captured it on film.
Conrad Schumann was the young soldier who jumped the Berlin Wall at the early years of post war Germany. It was a time of unrest for the country and the two factions were on the brink of hostility. Schumann jumped the fence that bisected Berlin and ran to freedom on the side of West Berlin. 19-year-old photographer Peter Leibing captured this image at the ideal moment and the photo became a well-known memory for many. This iconic photo made an appearance in newspapers and museums, and it is still a significant image today.
Schumann’s sprint and hurdle over the fence was a fleeting moment that would have been lost without the help of a camera lens and a roll of film. It was a defining moment for the young soldier’s life as well as for the young photographer. The iconic image elicits stories of freedom and defection at a time of unrest and unresolved danger.