31 episodes

Tunnel 29: Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Helena Merriman tells the true story of a man who dug a tunnel into the East, right under the feet of border guards.

Intrigue BBC

    • News
    • 4.6 • 1.1K Ratings

Tunnel 29: Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Helena Merriman tells the true story of a man who dug a tunnel into the East, right under the feet of border guards.

    Girl Taken - preview

    Girl Taken - preview

    A stolen daughter, a grieving mother and a real life search for the truth. Join BBC Journalist Sue Mitchell and former soldier, Rob Lawrie, in the race to find a little girl taken.

    Across the world people were presented with what appeared to be a heart-breaking, but straight forward story of a father and his motherless daughter struggling to get to Britain. But behind those headlines lay a far more sinister truth and Sue and Rob discover that the little girl appears to have simply vanished: can they find her in time?

    Girl Taken is a 10-part podcast from BBC Radio 4.

    • 2 min
    Ep10: Tunnel 29 - The Shoes

    Ep10: Tunnel 29 - The Shoes

    “I started dancing with Eveline.” A final twist in the final chapter.

    Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Helena Merriman tells the extraordinary true story of a man who dug a tunnel into the East, right under the feet of border guards, to help friends, family and strangers escape. The series is based on original interviews with the survivors as well as thousands of documents from the Stasi archives and recordings from the tunnel.

    Producer & Presenter: Helena Merriman
    Sound Design: Eloise Whitmore
    Translation and additional research: Sabine Schereck
    Editor: Richard Knight
    Joachim Rudolph's original interviews voiced by Mark Edel Hunt

    #tunnel29

    • 18 min
    Ep9: Tunnel 29 - The Signal

    Ep9: Tunnel 29 - The Signal

    “If you don’t have a coffee, then bring me a cognac.” Ellen's plan is derailed.

    Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Helena Merriman tells the extraordinary true story of a man who dug a tunnel into the East, right under the feet of border guards, to help friends, family and strangers escape. The series is based on original interviews with the survivors as well as thousands of documents from the Stasi archives and recordings from the tunnel.

    Producer & Presenter: Helena Merriman
    Sound Design: Eloise Whitmore
    Translation and additional research: Sabine Schereck
    Editor: Richard Knight
    Joachim Rudolph's original interviews voiced by Mark Edel Hunt

    #tunnel29

    • 14 min
    Ep8: Tunnel 29 - The Messenger

    Ep8: Tunnel 29 - The Messenger

    I said "ok, I'll do it”. Ellen, Mimmo's girlfriend, agrees to play a dangerous role.

    Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Helena Merriman tells the extraordinary true story of a man who dug a tunnel into the East, right under the feet of border guards, to help friends, family and strangers escape. The series is based on original interviews with the survivors as well as thousands of documents from the Stasi archives and recordings from the tunnel.

    Producer & Presenter: Helena Merriman
    Sound Design: Eloise Whitmore
    Translation and additional research: Sabine Schereck
    Editor: Richard Knight
    Joachim Rudolph's original interviews voiced by Mark Edel Hunt

    #tunnel29

    • 14 min
    Ep7: Tunnel 29 - The Interrogation

    Ep7: Tunnel 29 - The Interrogation

    “That’s the first time I saw her again.” Wolfdieter's show trial begins.

    Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Helena Merriman tells the extraordinary true story of a man who dug a tunnel into the East, right under the feet of border guards, to help friends, family and strangers escape. The series is based on original interviews with the survivors as well as thousands of documents from the Stasi archives and recordings from the tunnel.

    Producer & Presenter: Helena Merriman
    Sound Design: Eloise Whitmore
    Translation and additional research: Sabine Schereck
    Editor: Richard Knight
    Joachim Rudolph's original interviews voiced by Mark Edel Hunt


    #tunnel29

    • 16 min
    Ep6: Tunnel 29 - The Gun

    Ep6: Tunnel 29 - The Gun

    “And then my interrogation began.” The escape operation unravels.

    Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Helena Merriman tells the extraordinary true story of a man who dug a tunnel into the East, right under the feet of border guards, to help friends, family and strangers escape. The series is based on original interviews with the survivors as well as thousands of documents from the Stasi archives and recordings from the tunnel.

    Producer & Presenter: Helena Merriman
    Sound Design: Eloise Whitmore
    Translation and additional research: Sabine Schereck
    Editor: Richard Knight
    Joachim Rudolph's original interviews voiced by Mark Edel Hunt

    #tunnel29

    • 14 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
1.1K Ratings

1.1K Ratings

pennsh ,

Intense, delivered like a campfire story

The reporters & narrators make it fun and intriguing even when the tales are serious and probably scary af. Understated bravery.

Moderate Liberal Extrordinaire ,

The Firm

70 years ago, on 8 February 1950, the GDR created “The Firm” as it was known to those within it, to everyone else it was known as the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (MfS) or the Stasi. Modeled upon the Cheka of the USSR, the Stalinist secret police, and headed for most of its existence by Erich Mielke, a known murderer of two Berlin police officers in 1931. It was the most effective, repressive and pernicious secret police the world has ever seen to date. Every escape through the GDR border to the West was a personal loss and failure for Mielke, and he learned well from every escape that was successful during his long tenure.

At age 22, I was stationed at Tempelhof Central Airport (a US Air Force installation) in the American sector of Berlin from Nov 1988 to Jan 1992. I knew several people who fled from East Germany and lived in West Berlin during my time there. They all knew the stories of the escapes which succeeded, and the world knew of the failures that were made public. I still wonder about the ones that were disappeared, swallowed up inside the Stasi archive, yet to be discovered. The voiceless victims of that communist dictatorship.

This podcast was a spellbinding story for me, one that I could listen to and place in geographical context because of my time in that city. Well researched, it was “just enough” to keep me intrigued for all of the episodes (which I listened to in a single day, I love binging on these). The story of these defectors has been told before but never in such a riveting way for me personally. My thanks to Helena Merriman and the BBC for that, it was storytelling at its finest.

November of 1989 was an especially exciting time to live in West Berlin. It’s a place and time that I look back on with nostalgia, because it was a time of great hope. Watching the end of the Cold War happen on my watch has been one of the highlights of my life. As an American who was there to protect the West Berliners from Communist aggression intent on forcing them out, the fall of the Berlin Wall was the fulfillment of the Allied Forces mission there. My own unit motto, “De Defensores Libertais” (The Defenders of Liberty) was also a personal one for me, and I never forgot that mission while I was there, standing on the shoulders of my brothers-in-arms of all three allied military forces who fed that beleaguered city during the Berlin Airlift, and stayed to see that it remained free.

One last thing, for those of you who are interested: Erich Mielke, who was the Sword and the Shield of the (SED) Party incarnate, was summoned to and addressed the Volkskammer for the first time on 13 Nov 1989 to explain himself. He told the assembled parliamentarians that “I love all - all humanity. I really do. I set myself before you!” amongst other outrageous statements. Their response, and this was to a man who held everyone in the country’s very existence in the palm of his hand, was laughter, boos, whistles and catcalls. That’s right, they laughed and jeered him off the dais. His hypocrisy was so great that these people, party members and former party members all, had had enough of him. It remains the single greatest (and finally, the most honest) moment in the history of the East German state as far as I’m concerned. All that power, the people he had murdered, and the ones whose lives he made a living hell, was at long last reduced to a punch line. A joke. A little man who plotted and planned to make every East German conform to the absolute hypocrisy that was East Germany on pain of imprisonment or death, was finally seen as the murderous, treacherous little man that he was. It must have been glorious for them. Best of all, it was televised for the entire world to see. He was tried by the Federal Republic in 1992 for his crime of the first degree murders of the police officers in 1931 (he had kept the evidence in his own safe to blackmail other party members) but served only a very short time (until 1995) before he was released for “health reasons.” I have no doubt he enjoyed getting the last laugh on them, as he collected a small government pension until his death in 2000. By all that is just and right, he should have spent the last years of his pathetic existence confined under the very same torturous conditions he subjected thousands of East German citizens to on his watch. Then cremated and his ashes scattered at sea, all traces of his existence wiped out in an act of damnatio memoriae. He was a sadistic torturer and murderer. He deserves no grave, only the condemnation of humanity.

goodbye mr mackenzie ,

Brilliant series

Fabulous series. Intriguing, international and inspirational

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