Hildegard Johanna Maria Trabant was an East German woman who became the fiftieth known person to die at the Berlin Wall. Trabant was shot and killed by East German border guards during a crossing attempt, one of only eight women victims of the Berlin Wall, was the only escapee victim known to have a record of loyalty toward the East German regime. Hildegard Pohl was born on 12 June 1927 in Berlin, Weimar Republic, grew up in the city, she was loyal to the East German regime, having joined the governing Socialist Unity Party in 1949 at the age of 22, where she was valued as an active party member. In 1954, she married Günter Horst Trabant, a People's Police officer, employed in the passport and registration division; the Trabants lived in an apartment complex on Tilsiter Straße 64, in the Friedrichshain district of East Berlin, near U-Bahnhof Frankfurter Tor. Facilitating their residence there, Trabant was a property manager in the Kommunale Wohnungsverwaltung Friedrichshain, a municipal housing administration in Friedrichshain.
On 18 August 1964, Günter Trabant reported to his office that he had not seen his wife since 7:00 in the morning the day prior, 17 August, that some of her clothes were missing. At 6:50 in the evening the same day, Hildegard Trabant was shot trying to cross the border between East Berlin and West Berlin. Trabant had attempted to leave via a disused S-Bahn line between S-Bhf Berlin-Gesundbrunnen and S-Bhf Berlin-Schönhauser Allee, had managed to overcome the inner wall, but was discovered by East German border guards as she was hiding behind some shrubs before reaching the other side, she ignored verbal challenges to surrender. Instead, she ran back towards East Berlin, to avoid arrest. One of the guards fired a warning shot to get Trabant to stop, but when she continued to run, a second shot was fired, hitting her in the back. Trabant died about an hour at the "Police Hospital" ("Krankenhaus der Volkspolizei" – now known as the "Army Hospital". In the presence of his superiors, as well as in the presence of the Stasi case worker, Oberleutnant Horse Hase, her husband Günter was either unable or unwilling to comment on circumstances which led to her attempted flight from East Germany.
It is unknown. Evidence suggests her motives may have been of a personal nature involving domestic violence; the Trabants were known to have had several major domestic clashes, which caught the attention of Günter's supervisors within the police force. Trabant had no other known relatives in East Germany at the time of her death, as her mother was deceased, her father was in a nursing home in West Berlin, her only other known relative, a Günter Pohl, was in Marl-Drewer, North Rhine-Westphalia, in West Germany. Hildegard Trabant was one of only eight women killed at the Berlin wall, among the total of at least 140 victims, one of only four women who attempted this crossing alone. Further, of the at least 101 Berlin Wall victims that were classified as escapees or attempted escapees, she was the only one who had a record of loyalty toward the East German regime. Hildegard Trabant was buried on 23 September 1964 at the Frieden-Himmelfahrt Cemetery, north of Pankow, in Rosenthal, she was buried in a "linear grave", i.e. a grave which expired after the 20 years allowed under East German law without becoming a "family grave" which the family continued to maintain, or another family member was buried more there.
This period of resting "expired" in 1984, this particular section of the cemetery was rearranged. Her urn is still there, like all urns buried there, but it is now under another grave number, under another name on the tombstone, her previous grave number was UH Him – 234a and the "new" grave number is UH Him – B102. Unlike all other deaths at the Berlin Wall, Hildegard Trabant's death went unnoticed in West Berlin, it would only be 26 years after the reunification of Germany in 1990 when the 1964 East Berlin files were given to the German federal judiciary in October 1990. After a lengthy trial, Kurt Renner, the guard who shot her, was found guilty of manslaughter, sentenced to one year and nine months in prison, commuted to probation. Unlike all other deaths at the Berlin Wall, it was obvious that when she was shot she had abandoned her attempt to escape East Berlin, was fleeing back towards the inner wall to avoid arrest. Hans-Hermann Hertle, Maria Nooke: Die Todesopfer an der Berliner Mauer 1961–1989: ein biographisches Handbuch / hrsg. vom Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam und der Stiftung Berliner Mauer.
Links, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-86153-517-1. Short Portrait of Hildegard Trabant at Chronik der Mauer Short Portrait of Hildegard Trabant at Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer Hildegard Trabant at Find a Grave Hildegard's Grave Hildegard Trabant – a forgotten Berlin Wall victim The GDR Border Troops' Report on the Escape Attempt of Hildegard Trabant Exposition: Le Mur de Berlin Berlin vu de l'Est
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