An estimated 138 people were shot at the Berlin Wall between 1961 and 1989. Many of these deaths were concealed by the regime in the former East Germany.
The cover-up didn’t necessarily stop when the Berlin Wall fell 25 years ago. Nor did it end with the reunification of Germany one year later.
If anything, the tendency to play down the horrors of the regime has increased. Gregor Gysi, a leading member of the Left Party, which formed in 2007 as a merger of former East German communists and western German socialists, recently said the German Democratic Republic was “not a lawless state.”
Even today, many of the victims’ families do not feel that those responsible for the killings committed by the Stasi, the former East German secret police – were punished for their crimes. Many people who had lost family members had to wait years to even find out what had happened.
A new documentary, by filmmaker Stefan Weinert, tells their stories. “The Family,” opened in German cinemas on Thursday ahead of this weekend's commemorations to mark the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.