|Ortsteil of Teistungen|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
Böseckendorf is a village in the Teistungen municipality in the district of Eichsfeld in Germany. It became famous during the Cold War for two mass escapes in 1961 and 1963 involving a total of 65 inhabitants – a quarter of the village's population – across the heavily fortified inner German border.
The village is first recorded in a deed of about 1250 of Count Ulrich von Regenstein for the monastery of Kloster Beuren. The entire village became a monastic settlement in 1431, after which the villagers were required to pay tithes to support the monastery. Its monastic ties were abolished in 1809.
After the end of the Second World War the village found itself just inside the Soviet occupation zone, which became the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) in 1949. The village is situated in a salient of the German Thuringia, surrounded on three sides by the border with Lower Saxony. In 1952 the inner German border was fortified by the East German government, with access to the West being cut off and Böseckendorf being added to the high-security Schutzstreifen ("protective strip") adjoining the border.
Thousands of inhabitants of the East German border region were expelled en masse in 1952 in an action, codenamed Operation Vermin (Aktion Ungeziefer), intended to rid the border villages of so-called "unreliable elements". In 1961, rumours of a new wave of mass expulsions began circulating in Böseckendorf. Many inhabitants, particularly farmers who had resisted the forced collectivization policies of the GDR regime, feared that they were on Stasi blacklists of those slated for expulsion.
On the night of 2 October 1961, 53 people from twelve families – 16 men, 14 women and 23 children – fled from Böseckendorf across the border without being detected by the East German border guards. Their escape was celebrated in the West. Although the border was mined to prevent further escapes, a second mass escape occurred at Böseckendorf on 22 February 1963. Twelve people from two village families crossed the border successfully, led by a GDR border guard who was engaged to one of the escapees. He was able to guide the villagers across the border at a point that he knew was free of landmines. In March 1963 the West German authorities announced that they would build a new village for the escapees, to be named Neuböseckendorf (New Böseckendorf), located about 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) from the original village.
On 24 September 2009, the German television channel Sat.1 broadcast Böseckendorf - Die Nacht, in der ein Dorf verschwand ("Böseckendorf - The night on which a village vanished"), a dramatised version of the 1961 mass escape.
- "Böseckendorf mit Ortsteil Bleckenrode" (in German). VG Lindenberg/Eichsfeld. Retrieved 2009-11-03.
- Staff (8 December 1961). "Germany's 800-Mile Strip Of Death". The Times.
- Staff (23 February 1963). "13 East Germans Escape to West". The Associated Press.
- Staff (7 March 1963). "Village crosses Iron Curtain". The Guardian.
- Cramer, Michael (2008). German-German Border Trail. Rodingersdorf: Esterbauer. ISBN 978-3-85000-254-7.
- Sagatz, Kurt (22 September 2009). "Unser Dorf soll freier werden". Der Tagesspiegel (in German).
- Mielke, André (22 September 2009). "Ein Dorf macht rüber". Welt Online (in German). Retrieved 3 November 2009.
- Staff (26 August 2009). "Wir wollten nur noch raus!" (in German). MDR Television. Retrieved 3 November 2009.
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