In commemoration of the 30-year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, an escape tunnel that was built underneath the wall to try and help residents in East Berlin escape to the West has opened to the public for the first time. The tunnel was built in late 1970, nine years after the Berlin Wall was built, by a group of East German dissidents who had themselves escaped to the West and wanted to help friends and family members escape as well. Unfortunately, they never managed to complete it. Right before they manage to finish, the tunnellers were caught and their work was partially destroyed, even though East German authorities had discovered what was going on prior through ultrasound technology.
"It's great to see that the battle for freedom was also taken underground," said Berlin Mayor Michael Müller. "One can authentically experience the courage of the women and men who tried to take people to freedom and resisted the East German regime." The tunnel is part of a larger exhibit that has been set up underground to showcase the history of the wall as well as other tunnels that were built during that time. More than 70 where built under the wall in those 28 years when the wall was still standing, however, most of them failed, which is why only about 300 people managed to actually escape through tunnels to the West during that time.