The children with the border guards at the Bridge

Mama Kempa encouraged the children to sing their songs -- paeans to the socialist state -- to the men at the bridge, and to take them gifts and flowers. At Christmastime every year, one of the guards, a middle-aged, roly-poly man named Herr Ostermann, came to the house dressed as Santa Claus.
But usually it was all business.

p. 73 The House at the Bridge

The children at the Kinderwochenheim were told that the uniformed men at the Glienicke Bridge were there for their protection and for the protection of their socialist fatherland. What Mama Kempa and the other teachers didn't tell them was that when they grew older, should they try to escape across the bridge, or over the wall and across the river, these same men had orders to shoot to kill.

p. 77 The House at the Bridge


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