Faculty Advisor

David Doellinger


From 1961 to 1989, 327 people attempting to cross the border from East Germany to West Germany were killed while making the crossing. With the opening of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 and German reunification a year later, German courts began to address whether the border guards, their officers, or political leadership of the former East Germany should be tried for these deaths. If East Germany no longer existed, could West German laws be applied to these cases? This project examines this issue by examining trials that were conducted in the 1990s and the legal sources that examine this issue. Based on my research I argue that the trials, which were hastily organized, mistakenly went after the border guards instead of those that gave them, and broke the Reunification Treaty.

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