Episode 48: Marienetta Jirkowsky

new white crosses marienetta roberta caldas


Friedrich-Ebert-Platz, 10117 Berlin


  • Attempt to escape in 22 November 1980
  • Only female victim represented in the White Crosses memorial
  • Only victim with misspelled name in the White Crosses memorial

The Berlin Wall was a physical border that isolated West Berlin as an island in East Germany. It was also seen as a place that would offer refuge for those who successfully escaped from the GDR.

From the 138 known victims of the Berlin Wall, eight were border guards killed on duty, 30 were people with no intention to escape and 100 were people killed while attempting to escape. From these 100 victims, only eight were women.

Half of these women were attempting to escape with their husbands or friends. From different backgrounds and ages, their names were Ida Siekmann, Olga Segler, Dorit Schmiel, Erna Kelm, Hildegard Trabant, Elke Weckeiser, Christel Wehage and Marienetta Jirkowsky.

On today’s talk we will reveal 18 year-old Marienetta Jirkowsky’s story. Marienetta is commemorated in Hohen Neuendorf with a roundabout and a Berlin Wall trail column close to the spot where she was killed, as well as in the center of Berlin with a White Cross by Tiergarten and one in Friedrich-Ebert-Platz by the Spree.

Photo and episode: Roberta Caldas


  1. How little still to this date do those of us in the West know of the brutality and sinister methods of the GDR. There is a series “The Weissensee Saga” that attempts to portray the closed, paranoid and humanly absurd environ of life behind the Curtain of Iron…..tears of sorrow for all of you human lives who had to survive in that feardome.


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