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Death at the Berlin Wall$
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Pertti Ahonen

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199546305

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199546305.001.0001

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Hero-victims of the Socialist frontier

Hero-victims of the Socialist frontier

(p.65) 3 Hero-victims of the Socialist frontier
Death at the Berlin Wall

Pertti Ahonen (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the deaths and public afterlives of the Wall victims favoured by the GDR: East German border guards gunned down in the line of duty. It focuses on two fallen guards who rose to particularly high posthumous prominence in the GDR: Peter Göring and Reinhold Huhn, shot in central Berlin on 23 May and 18 June 1962, respectively. The chapter reconstructs the circumstances in which the guards died and analyses the East German public narratives that promptly stylized them into ‘hero-victims of the socialist frontier’, exemplary citizens whose lives and deaths were supposed to provide a model for other East Germans, promoting mobilization and legitimacy-building among the population.

Keywords:   Berlin, Berlin Wall, GDR, division, legitimacy, escape, death, Peter Göring, Reinhold Huhn, socialist hero, Rudolf Müller

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