Hildegard K. worked as a singer for East German radio. The religious mother of four children risked losing her job because of her criticism of the propaganda in songs. For this reason she decided to flee in summer 1961.
She had already brought some of her belongings to West Berlin. On August 12 she sent three of her children to friends in the West.
When she learned of the border closure the next morning, she tried to find a way to flee with her eldest son, Klaus-Peter. Hildegard K. knew that the Reconciliation Church stood directly on the border.
After trying several times unsuccessfully to get past the many obstacles on the way to the church, they waited in a building on Strelitzer Straße for nightfall. They worked their way through backyards to the Elisabeth parish cemetery. Shielded by the gravestones, they crawled to the Reconciliation Church, whose gate was still open to West Berlin, and were able to pass through it without being noticed.