After the Knittel family decided to flee from Bernauer Straße 8 on September 19, 1961, they notified the West Berlin fire brigades. Firemen arrived with a rescue net around 10 p.m. Helga Knittel, who was heavily pregnant, was the first to jump out the second-story window. She was followed by her daughter Marina and then the father. The escape had been well-prepared, allowing them to take some of their personal belongings with them. Three days after the escape, Helga Knittel gave birth to her second daughter in West Berlin.