A Rough Landing
The balloon that was made at home for these eight East German fugitives fell into a tree. Günter Wetzel suffered a broken leg due to the fall but did not prevent his excitement. Had they reached West Germany? Were they now free? Strelzyk and Wetzel carefully went ahead, ordering their wife and kids to follow them mindfully. They needed to know if their mission was a success.
Studying The Surroundings
Wetzel and Strelzyk went inside a farm nearby. They could tell from the size of the farm that it was not an East German collective. They further discovered another incredible thing about the insides of the farm. The brand of the tools in the farm were not from East Germany and they were also not outdated. They could not control their excitement and saw that two policemen were approaching them too.
Spotting An Audi
In other cases, Wetzel and Strelzyk would have dreaded being approached by the police. however, they were not alarmed as the policemen were in an Audi car which was not found in East Germany! They were over the moon to be told that they were indeed in the land of West Germany. They quickly called their other family members hiding in the forest to tell them the good news. But was it all over?
In The DDR
While both the families were busy celebrating their freedom in West Germany, the Stasi seized the people close to them in East Germany. Peter Strelzyk’s brother, sister, and brother-in-law had all been thrown into the East German jail. Amnesty International came to their rescue. One of Strelzyk’s best friends had been caught and was sent as a spy to West Germany to investigate his friend’s whereabouts in West Germany where he was blindly welcomed by Strelzyk.
It would make sense that escaping to West Germany would cement the whole the Strelzyk and Wetzel clans to bond even more. After all, they had been through so much. This was shockingly not the case. They two families actually split apart after a few years. They had public disputes and became rivals, airing each other’s dirty laundry for the whole public to know. Since the Stasi kept on monitoring the Strelzyks still even in West Germany, they ultimately left for Switzerland.
In 1989, the Berlin Wall was demolished. Both sides of Germany finally reunified after about a century of dispute. The Strelzyks were quick to return to their old place in Poessneck, eleven years later. The Wetzels continued to live in West Germany. The Wetzel and Strelzyk families had successfully pulled off one of the most incredible escape stories in recent history. They are true examples of how the human mind, with sheer determination and dedication, can achieve anything.