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Judgment In Berlin - True Story?

Wed Nov 29, 2006 3:36 pm

I was watching this movie today and was wondering, if it was based on a true story or merely fictitious. It is about an East German in the times of the iron curtain, who hijacks a Polish airliner enroute to East Berlin and diverts it to Tempelhof Airport in the western half of the city, more precisely the American sector of the city. The German government is reluctant to try him in court because they fear a public outcry, if they were to sentence him for escaping from communist East Germany. On the other hand, they cannot just ignore a hijacking of a passenger aircraft. So, they end up leaving it to the United States as the occupational power to set up a trial court under US law at Tempelhof, presided by a US federal judge, and with German citizens as jurors. Eventually, the jury finds him guilty on one of five charges, and the judge sentences him to "time served" and releases him at the end of the trial. Does anyone here have any knowledge of these events? Did this actually happen?

[Edited 2006-11-29 07:38:22]
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RE: Judgment In Berlin - True Story?

Wed Nov 29, 2006 4:57 pm

It happened several times that LOT planes were hi jacked to THF. The joke was that LOT stands for "Landet och tempelhof" which means lands also THF.

I would say that the hi jackers had to be tried but the sentence was small, usually less than 2 years with probation. But I would have to verify that. The story you tell above is part true and part fiction. Although the allied powers had sovereignty over Berlin until 1990, there would never have been a US court with a German jury, Our law systems are totally different, we have, on the lower courts laymen serving as "people judges" together with a judge, but no jury system.

Fiction based on true stories.
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