Hildegard Trabant

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Hildegard Trabant
MfS-AS-754-70-Bd-II-7-Seite-0030 (HildegardTrabant).tif
Born (1927-06-12)12 June 1927
Berlin
Died 18 August 1964(1964-08-18) (aged 37)
Berlin, Krankenhaus der Volkspolizei (now the Bundeswehrkrankenhaus_Berlin)
Cause of death Shot by a guard whilst attempting to enter West Berlin from East Berlin
Body discovered The closed S-Bahn tracks between the Schönhauser Allee and Gesundbrunnen stations
52°32′58″N 13°24′07″E / 52.549483°N 13.401828°E / 52.549483; 13.401828
Resting place Friedhof Nordend, Berlin-Rosenthal.
52°35′45″N 13°24′23″E / 52.595945°N 13.406458°E / 52.595945; 13.406458
Monuments White Crosses, Berlin
"Window Of Remembrance", Berlin
Residence Tilsiter Straße 64, Berlin O 34 / 1020 Berlin, GDR
Known for - One of eight women killed at the Berlin Wall
- Probably the only Berlin Wall victim who was classified as an attempted escapee, yet was loyal to, and not critical of, the East German government.
Political party Socialist Unity Party of Germany (Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands, SED).

Hildegard Johanna Maria Trabant,[1] née Pohl (June 12, 1927 in Berlin – August 18, 1964 in Berlin) was a German woman killed trying to cross the Berlin Wall.

Biography[edit]

Hildegard Trabant's former residence at Richard-Sorge-Strasse 64 (then, Tilsiter Strasse 64), in Berlin-Friedrichshain, taken in 2014
Richard-Sorge-Strasse 64, in Berlin. This is the front door to the former residence of Hildegard Trabant, in Berlin-Friedrichshain, taken in 2014
Hildegard Trabant's grave at the Friedhof Nordend, in Berlin-Rosenthal. Marked as UH Him - B102, taken in 2014
map of the Friedhof Nordend, in Berlin-Rosenthal. The location of Hildegard Trabant's grave is highlighted in yellow.

Hildegard Trabant was born in Berlin and grew up there. She was loyal to the East German regime. At the age of 22, she joined the Socialist Unity Party in 1949, which was the same year that the GDR was founded; here, she was valued as an active party member. In 1954, she married Günter Horst Trabant,[1] a People's Police officer, who was employed in the passport and registration division. The couple had no children, and because of a lower abdomen operation, she was unable to bear children.[2] They lived in an apartment complex on Tilsiter Strasse 64 (today Richard-Sorge-Straße 64),[3][4] near Frankfurter Tor, in the Friedrichshain district of Berlin. Possibly facilitating their residence there, she was a property manager in the Kommunale Wohnungsverwaltung Friedrichshain (a municipal housing administration).[5] Whatever led her to attempt to flee East Germany was probably of a personal nature, involving domestic disputes, as well as assault and battery. She had several large clashes with her husband, which got the attention of his supervisors within the police force. At the time of her death, her mother was already dead, her father was in a nursing home in West Berlin, and with the exception of a Günter Pohl in Recklinghausen, she had no other known relatives.[6][7]

Death[edit]

On August 18, 1964, Günter Trabant reported to his office that he had not seen his wife since 7:00 AM the day prior, August 17, 1964,[6] and that some of her clothes were missing.[5] Also on August 18, 1964, at 6:50 PM, Hildegard Trabant attempted to cross the border between East and West Berlin. She was discovered by East German border guards and subsequently shot. She died about an hour later at the Krankenhaus der Volkspolizei (now the Bundeswehrkrankenhaus); she was 37 years old. In the presence of his superiors, her husband was either unable or unwilling to comment on circumstances which led to her attempted flight from East Germany.

Hildegard Trabant was one of only eight women killed at the Berlin wall, among the total of at least 139 victims, and one of only four women who attempted this crossing alone (the other four were with their husbands/partners). Further, of all the Berlin Wall victims that were classified as escapees/attempted escapees, she was probably the only one who was loyal to the East German regime.

Burial[edit]

Hildegard Trabant was buried on September 23, 1964[4] at the Frieden-Himmelfahrt Cemetery (now the Evangelischer Friedhof Nordend), north of Pankow, in Rosenthal. She was buried in a "linear grave", meaning, a grave which expired after the lawful regulated 20 years of resting allowed under GDR law without becoming a "family grave"—the family continues to maintain, or another family member is buried more recently there. This period of resting "expired" in 1984, and this particular section of the cemetery was rearranged. Her urn is still there, like all urns buried there, but it's now under another grave number, and under another name on the tombstone. Previously, her grave number was UH Him - 234a. The "new" grave number is UH Him - B102.[4][8]

Aftermath[edit]

Unlike almost all other deaths at the Berlin Wall, Hildegard Trabant's death went totally unnoticed in West Berlin. It would be 26 years later (October 1990) when the 1964 East Berlin files were given to the German federal judiciary. After a lengthy trial, Kurt Renner,[9] the guard who shot her, was found guilty of manslaughter, and sentenced to one year and nine months in prison, which was commuted later to probation. Also unlike almost all other deaths at the Berlin wall, it was obvious that when she was actually shot, she had abandoned her attempt to escape East Berlin, and was merely fleeing back towards the inner wall, to avoid arrest.[10]

Literature[edit]

  • Hans-Hermann Hertle, Maria Nooke: Die Todesopfer an der Berliner Mauer 1961 - 1989 : ein biographisches Handbuch / hrsg. vom Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam und der Stiftung Berliner Mauer. Links, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-86153-517-1.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Stasi Records Agency (BStU), Ministry for State Security (MfS) File AS 754/70, Bd. II, Nr. 7, Pg. 29
  2. ^ Stasi Records Agency (BStU), Ministry for State Security (MfS) File AS 754/70, Bd. II, Nr. 7, Pg. 40
  3. ^ Annett Gröschner, "Aus Anderer Sicht/The Other View" (pg 625), July 2011, Hatje Cantz, ISBN 978-3-7757-3207-9
  4. ^ a b c Page 48 of the registry from - the Friedhof Nordend, Berlin-Rosenthal.
  5. ^ a b Stasi Records Agency (BStU), Ministry for State Security (MfS) File AS 754/70, Bd. II, Nr. 7, Pg. 6
  6. ^ a b Stasi Records Agency (BStU), Ministry for State Security (MfS) File AS 754/70, Bd. II, Nr. 7, Pg. 5
  7. ^ Bericht der DDR-Grenztruppen über den Fluchtversuch und die Erschießung (Report of the GDR border troops about the escape attempt and the shooting){de icon}>
  8. ^ Hertle, Hans-Hermann (2011). The Victims at the Berlin Wall, 1961-1989: A Biographical Handbook. Hans-Hermann Hertle, Maria Nooke. Christoph Links Verlag. pp. 163–165. ISBN 978-3861536321. 
  9. ^ Comparison of the Crime Scene Sketch and the Report on Escape Attempt and Shooting of the GDR Border Troops at Chronik der Mauer.de (in German)
  10. ^ Brecht, Christine. "Hildegard Trabant". Berlin Wall Memorial. Retrieved 1 January 2014. 

External links[edit]