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German Research Shows 125 People Killed in Cold War at Berlin Wall


German researchers say at least 125 people were killed during the Cold War at the Berlin Wall, the notorious barrier that symbolized the division of Europe for nearly three decades.

The figure is contained in a government-sponsored report entitled "Deaths at the Berlin Wall 1961 to 1969." It is much lower than previous estimates that put the number of victims at more than 200.

East German guards had strict orders to shoot anyone trying to escape, and pictures of people killed at the concrete and barbed wire barrier sparked widespread condemnation in the West.

The new research shows 93 of the victims were East Germans trying to escape. Another 32 of those killed were not trying to flee. These include eight border guards killed accidentally.

Researchers discounted 62 deaths that turned out to be suicides or the victims survived. Eighty-one other cases remain under investigation.

The East Germany government erected the Berlin Wall in August 1961. It divided Berlin into separate cities, leaving West Berlin as an isolated capitalist enclave within the communist state. East German citizens began tearing down the wall in 1989.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.
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