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Deserting The Wrong Way; Why Soldiers Went East

Discussion in 'Military History' started by GRW, Jan 8, 2020.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Just came across this online, it's an old one.
    "Countless East Germans tried to flee communist oppression, but a new book documents the rare cases of western deserters going the other way. Matthew Luxmoore reports.
    An iconic photo of East German conscript Conrad Schumann jumping over barbed wire as the Berlin Wall was being built in 1961 came to symbolize the flight for freedom of many trapped behind the Iron Curtain.
    The idea that NATO soldiers would flee from the democratic West to the communist East is almost unthinkable, but a new book tells the story of those who ran the "wrong" way.
    German author Peter Köpf stumbled upon the subject while researching the experiences of black American soldiers based in Germany. Some left for East Germany out of communist conviction, out of opposition to the Korean War, others to escape the racism at home – and at least one, in order to marry the woman he loved.
    “This corrects to some extent our picture of history, namely: soldiers from the East escaping to the West,” Köpf recently told The Local.
    His book "Where is Lieutenant Adkins? The fate of NATO Deserters in the GDR" traces the steps of western soldiers who crossed the ideological barrier in the 1950s and made their lives in the communist German Democratic Republic (GDR)."
    www.thelocal.de/20130412/49097?fbclid=IwAR21tORauhyemisVnNz6Xq5BQMjTBIHOIrn5Ohhj8gf7Z0m9D1W55VWZq0w
     
  2. Owen

    Owen O

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    How many went East ?
     
  3. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    The article said about 200 by 1961, but doesn't go into any more detail after that year. More than likely it increased during the Vietnam War era. I've read cases where GIs stationed in West Germany deserted east when they got orders for Vietnam. Some posted in South Korea went north after receiving their marching orders as well. Why anyone would want to go to North Korea on purpose is beyond me.
     
  4. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Yeah, how desperate would you have to be? :eek:
     

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