Every day brought new rumors. Soldiers had become more active, and the night before bricks had mysteriously disappeared from many abandoned buildings. And now, people were saying a wall would soon be built. Fearing the worst, Hasso pleaded with his friend that they should escape the city. His friend, skeptical of the rumors, encouraged Hasso to "Relax. Enjoy yourself." Hasso had recently won a state swim tournament. Why should he not "enjoy himself?"
It was 1961 and Hasso Herschel lived in East Germany. Within weeks, the Berlin Wall and scores of troops would abruptly split the capital. For 28 years East Berlin would be a prison city. Families would be separated. People would be beaten and jailed. Babies would be taken from their mothers. Many would be killed. This October is the anniversary of a daring escape from occupied East Berlin…and the story is a lesson for us.
After a brave escape of his own, and facing death if discovered, Hasso and a team of collaborators worked feverishly to dig a 126 meter escape tunnel back into occupied East Berlin to save others. The East German secret police instructions were clear: "Do not hesitate with the use of a firearm, including when the border breakouts involve women and children, which the traitors have already frequently taken advantage of" ("E German 'license to kill' found" BBC News, August 12, 2007).
The online news magazine, Deutsche Welle, reports Hasso's words in its "Today in History" file for October 5, 1964. "We worked until we were exhausted, we were all incredibly young, that didn't pose a problem for us – half an hour later, we were fit again and could carry on. But, we really did look strange: pale, sweaty, a bit bloody, because we had injured ourselves on stones, shards and tools, drained by the poor air."
Their goal was to provide escape for dozens still trapped in East Berlin whom The Wall had abruptly separated from loved ones and from freedom. They knew the police would imprison or kill them if discovered back in GDR territory. They also knew their friends and family faced execution if found escaping.
The same Deutsche Welle article records Günter Bazyli, former colonel of the GDR border troops, in a recent interview: "Border violators are to be arrested or killed, so that the enemy is annihilated. If I have no other option open to me, I can shoot at him so long as to render him incapable of fleeing – he will either die or bleed to death with the next bullet."
For nine long, nervous months the tunnel was dug by hand through rock and mud. And, thankfully, through this tunnel, Hasso Herschel was able to help reunite many family and friends. But sadly, thousands were left behind, severed from freedom.
Today, many of us see something ominous coming. We see missing bricks in our financial systems and in international alliances. We see missing bricks in the world food and energy supplies. We see missing bricks in America's and Britain's power. Significant prophetic events are happening and cataclysmic changes are even now in progress. Today some say, "Relax. Enjoy yourself." But, some are warning. Some are ignoring the signs. But, some are turning to God.
Christ warned in Matthew 24:38-46 that in the end time many would ignore the signs, but some would be faithfully doing their Master's work. Please heed the signs all around us and be the "faithful and wise servant" whom his Master finds doing His work at His return.
In October 1964, Hasso Hershel heroically completed a tunnel to free others from East Germany. But no amount of bravery or ingenuity will save us in the years ahead. Only faith in and obedience to Christ will save you when the Great Tribulation is upon us (Matthew 24:21&22).
To better understand what lies ahead, please request or read online our free booklet: Revelation: The Mystery Unveiled