1961-08-15 Berlin, Germany / Jump to Freedom / Sprung in die Freiheit / Salto para a liberdade / Salto a la Libertad

Freedom is a high value. Freedom is characteristic of man’s existence and its content varies depending on how much he feels and perceives as an independent, independent being.

In Human history, the desire and struggle for freedom (spiritual, economic or political) is central. People struggle for their own independence, people struggle for the liberation of man at all, it unites them, creates a dream, an ideal.

Getting rid of physical constraints turns freedom into a burden beyond the capabilities of the person he is trying to escape. The more freedom one achieves in separating himself from the primal, the better he realizes that he has no choice but to join the World with the spontaneity of his love and labor or to seek security through new dependencies from the World that restrict his freedom.

The development of mankind is characterized by a shift from the Consciousness of man’s unity to nature and the surrounding World to the Consciousness of man’s separation from nature and its distinction from other people.

For a long time mankind perceives himself as being firmly connected with nature, but gradually he realizes that it is something separate, something different. The process of Consciousness is a process of interrupting primary ties with the World.

These connections guarantee him a sense of belonging, security and orientation, even though he does not allow individuality to be realized. Such are the relationships of the child with his mother, the member of the primitive Society with his family, the medieval man with the Church, etc. When fully personalized, one gets rid of primary relationships and faces a new task: to orient the World and find new forms of security.

Freedom gives the right to choose, but unlimited possibilities are the cause of feelings of fear and insecurity. Individualization means more and more isolation, man doubts his own role in terms of the universe and the meaning of his life.

There are feelings of frustration and nullibility and urges to renounce individuality, to overcome the sense of loneliness and frustration by merging with the outside World, but it is impossible to go back to psychologically the process of individualization.

With individualization, one becomes more independent, self – confident, but at the same time becomes more isolated, lonely and fearful.

On 15 August 1961, the 19-year-old Schumann was sent to the corner of Ruppiner Straße and Bernauer Straße to guard the Berlin Wall on its third day of construction. From the other side, West Germans shouted to him, ‘Komm’ rüber’ (‘Come over’), and a police car pulled up to wait for him.

Schumann jumped over the barbed wire while dropping his machine gun and was promptly driven away from the scene by the West Berlin police.

West German photographer Peter Leibing photographed Schumann’s escape. His picture has since become an iconic image of the Cold War era and featured at the beginning of the 1982 Disney film Night Crossing.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall he said, ‘Only since 9 November 1989 (the date of the fall) have I felt truly free.’ On 20 June 1998, suffering from depression, he committed suicide, hanging himself in his orchard. His body was found by his wife a few hours later.

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