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9 Ingenious Smuggling Machines That Beat the Berlin Wall

November 9, 2019, marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the physical embodiment of the Iron Curtain separating East and West in the Cold War. The Wall was built in 1961 to stop East Germans escaping to the West, but thousands found ways to beat it, using modified cars, a zipwire, and other feats of backyard engineering. Outside Berlin, intrepid escapees built their own submarines, a balloon, and even a microlight to overcome the wall.

The Berlin Wall comprised two concrete barriers separated by a "death strip," which was 160 yards wide and covered by border guards with Kalashnikovs. Almost 300 people died during escape attempts, but over five thousand got through and many of their ingenious smuggling methods are on permanent display at the Mauermuseum — Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin, the Berlin Wall Museum next to the former Checkpoint Charlie.

Here's a closer look at these ingenious smuggling machines.

9 Ingenious Smuggling Machines That Beat the Berlin Wall

30 years ago today, the Berlin Wall fell. But long before that, amateur engineers modded machines to escape the Soviet Union.

From Popular Mechanics