BORDERLINEA vague sense of foreboding accompanies us as we follow our conscription order to Halberstadt on 4 February, 1986, where we are to be trained as border patrol guards. Boja, Lohengrin, Mückenfried, LSD Wölfi and I all know, however, that the alternative to military service isnt particularly attractive: in the German Democratic Republic conscientious objectors were sent straight to jail. We learn fast. Acquiring the skills needed to be a border guard is not like any other form of basic training. We are being honed with such care because were so very important. At least thats what were told by our hated officers, or sackies as we call them. They also inform us that we are guards of the proletariat and it is our duty to use everything in our power to protect the western borders of our socialist camp against any and all forms of attack. We ignore them provided were not already falling asleep from sheer exhaustion. Let the idiots drone on
And then were sent to serve on the frontline of World War Three somewhere between Magdeburg and Helmstedt where we soon realise that you dont necessarily need an opponent to have a war. Still, we have to do what is expected of us. Although we dont discuss our true feelings our camaraderie doesnt go that far we are nevertheless all busy thinking: what a load of rubbish. Nobodys going to come here. Not where I am. And then, on 25 February 1987, someone who had just turned nineteen suddenly decides to stake everything on one chance. For a few hours, the Cold War gets pretty hot. For Boja, Lohengrin, Mückenfried, LSD Wölfi, me, and the guy whose dream is total freedom and not rule of law.