26 June 1981 – Werner Teske

We’d love to know what was going through Werner Teske’s mind at the point he was told he could be executed at any time. Other than a bullet, that is.

For no sooner than Teske was told that his appeal had been denied, he had a single shot fired into the back of his head. He’d been executed for laying the groundwork for his eventual defection from East Germany across the border to the West.

I, spy

Up to the point of his incarceration, Teske had been working for the East German secret service – aka the Stasi – reporting on espionage abroad. Given the sensitivity of his work, that was maybe why the authorities came down hard on him when he was found out.

Whatever the reasoning, the Stasi took him to trial and he was sentenced to death. On appealing against his decision, Teske awaited the outcome – his life was literally in the balance.

When it came he was taken to a room where he was given the fateful news. And on that devastating announcement, probably, before the news even had time to sink in, Teske was dead, shot in the head at Leipzig Prison. It is thought that the East Germans wanted to make an example of him. But then why was he done away with so secretively?

Card’s marked

As a warped epilogue to this story, the 39-year-old’s execution was kept so secret that even his own wife had no idea.

She was unceremoniously informed after her identity card was returned with a note, which pointed out her sudden change of marital status.

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