The count of people who perished while trying to cross over the Berlin Wall was known to be 137. Now, researchers believe there is another person to add to that count. Researchers have discovered that a young father is believed to have drowned in the Spree river and has gone unnoticed for the past 40 years.
The majority of the 137 victims were shot, bled to death by the barbed wire, or drowned in the Spree River. Hans-Joachim Zock is believed to be the young father that drowned in the river. East Berlin police pulled his body from the water on December 17th, 1970; however his name was never added to the victims although he did make it onto the East German police records. Zock snuck onto the grounds of a factory on the eastern bank of the river on November 14th, 1970. He wore a grey coat and dove into the freezing water in hopes to swim to the other side.
Unfortunately, his plan failed and he drowned. It took a month for the GDR police to find the young man’s body. In the pocket of the jacket, the police found a plastic bag that held a photograph of his little boy, a passport, and a letter to his aunt who lived in the west. “I cannot handle being here anymore…If you are reading this it could be that I am no longer alive,” the letter read.
The discovery was made by Jan Kostka, a Free University historian. “The documents confirm that Hans-Joachim Zock died trying to escape,” he told the Bild, reports the Local.
Kostka’s team began researching the deaths during the GDR in August of 2012 and hopes that anyone who has any information to email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.