The court rehabilitated four refugees from the former GDR

Cheb, 11 December 2018. The District Court in Cheb (West Bohemia) has rehabilitated four citizens of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) who, during the old regime, had attempted to escape through Czechoslovakia to West Germany, were detained by members of the Czechoslovak Border Guard and then were handed over to the security authorities of the GDR without trial.

  • Sabine Schubert, b. 1967, from Bad Münder, was detained by the Border Guard patrol on 20 October 1988 and was transferred to the GDR two weeks later.
  • Mirko Benson, b. 1962, from Niederdorfelden, was detained on 20 April 1988 by members of the Slatina Border Guard service. After 15 days, he was expelled from Czechoslovakia on the orders of the Federal Ministry of the Interior.
  • Ernst Dirk, b. 1941, from Zwickau, arrived in Czechoslovakia on the morning of 20 August 1974 to meet his father who lived in West Germany. But the border guards forced Ernst to leave the train, interrogated him, searched him, and then accused him of trying to leave the country. In the afternoon, he was handed over to the East German security authorities and subsequently sentenced to 7 months imprisonment in the GDR.
  • On 27 May 1967, Gerd Müller, b. 1950, from Reichenbach, was stopped, as a minor, by a Border Guard patrol. The patrol concluded that “he attempted an illegal transfer of state borders from the CSSR to the FRG”. On those grounds, he was immediately detained and handed over to the authorities of the GDR the next day. He was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment there.
  • For more details on Gerd Müller’s case (click here)

The judges have now concluded in all four cases that the imprisonment of these German citizens on the territory of Czechoslovakia at that time was illegal and that they are subject to Act No. 119/1990 Coll. on Judicial Rehabilitation. By participating in judicial rehabilitation, they have been given many years of moral satisfaction.

The Platform of European Memory and Conscience called in November 2017 on former East German refugees arrested in Czechoslovakia up to 1989 to apply for rehabilitation and compensation (see more here).

These activities are a part of the Platform’s JUSTICE 2.0 project.