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Crippled War Veteran Leads Breakout from Communist East Germany

Dec. 26, 1962 - For six months, Hans Weidner, a crippled war veteran, worked deep in Communist East Germany to armor and outfit an old bus for a run to freedom in West Berlin. Today, he made it in spectacular fashion. Mr. Weidner led a party of eight refugees that crashed the bus through three Red barriers on the main road to West Berlin and emerged unscathed. A half dozen bullets fired by East German border guards scarred the bus’s cream-colored paint. The headlights were shot away. Mr. Weidner, who walks painfully with the aid of two crutches, brought along his wife and two children. With them were his driver, Jürgen Wagner, 22, and Wagner’s wife and two children, one 18 months old. “We didn’t say anything to the children until the last minute,” Mr. Weidner said today. “They thought we were going to visit relatives in East Germany for Christmas.”


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