During the Cold War, as this portion of the Havel River formed the border between West Berlin and East Germany, the bridge was used several times for the exchange of captured spies and thus became known as the Bridge of Spies.
The Berlin Wall was there in all weathers, but some weather conditions made it easier to escape if you prepared accordingly.
On the night of November 21, 1963, 21-year-old Hubert Hohlbein swam through the Jungfernsee, not far from Cecilienhof Palace. After 90 minutes in the ice-cold water, he reached the West Berlin shore, 200m from the Glienicker Bridge.
He ran to the bridge, where West Berlin police officers warmed him with blankets and called an ambulance. He survived the escape well.
Two of his friends had already successfully used this escape route there before. The three obtained diving suits and secretly trained to swim and dive under the ice in the waters in and around Berlin.
Hohlbein decided to help others escape from the West. In October 1964, his group managed to help 57 GDR citizens escape through a tunnel. Among them was his mother.
In the GDR he was denied an academic degree because he was the son of an entrepreneur and so had to do an apprenticeship. Now he could fulfill his dream and study.