postmarked in 2013 with two stamps from Germany and the signatures of four people from a Postcrossing meet-up
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The Inner German border was the frontier between the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG, West Germany) from 1949 to 1990. Not including the similar but physically separate Berlin Wall, the border was 1,393 kilometres (866 mi) long and ran from the Baltic Sea to Czechoslovakia.
It was formally established on 1 July 1945 as the boundary between the Western and Soviet occupation zones of Germany. On the eastern side, it was made one of the world's most heavily fortified frontiers, defined by a continuous line of high metal fences and walls, barbed wire, alarms, anti-vehicle ditches, watchtowers, automatic booby traps and minefields. It was patrolled by 50,000 armed GDR guards who faced tens of thousands of West German, British and U.S. guards and soldiers.
The inner German border was never entirely sealed in the fashion of the border between the two Koreas and could be crossed in either direction throughout the Cold War. The post-war agreements on the governance of Berlin specified that the Western Allies were to have access to the city via defined air, road, rail and river corridors. This was 'mostly' respected by the Soviets and East Germans, albeit with periodic interruptions and harassment of travelers.
From 1945 onwards, unauthorised crossers of the inner German border risked being shot by Soviet or East German guards. The use of deadly force was termed the Schießbefehl ("order to fire" or "command to shoot"). A regulation issued to East German police on 27 May 1952 stipulated that "failure to obey the orders of the Border Patrol will be met by the use of arms." From the 1960s through to the end of the 1980s, the border guards were given daily verbal orders (Vergatterung) to "track down, arrest or annihilate violators.
It is still not certain how many people died on the inner German border or who they all were, as the GDR treated such information as a closely guarded secret. But estimates have risen steadily since unification, as evidence has been gathered from East German records. As of 2009, unofficial estimates are up to 1,100 people, though officially released figures give a count from 270 up to 421 deaths.
The fall of the inner German border came rapidly in November 1989, along with the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Germany stamp 2012
175 Jahre (175 Years)
The "Göttingen Seven" (Professors) 55
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The Göttingen Seven were a group of seven professors from Göttingen. In 1837 they protested against the abolition or alteration of the constitution of the Kingdom of Hanover by Ernest Augustus and refused to swear an oath to the new king of Hanover. The company of seven was led by Friedrich Christoph Dahlmann, who himself was one of the key advocates of the unadulterated constitution. The other six were the Germanist brothers Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm (famed fairy tale and folk tale writers and storytellers; known together as the Brothers Grimm), the jurist Wilhelm Eduard Albrecht, the historian Georg Gottfried Gervinus, the physicist Wilhelm Eduard Weber, and the theologian and orientalist Heinrich Georg August Ewald.
The protest's impact forced the king to take action, and the seven defiant professors were questioned before the university court on December 4. Ten days later, the seven were relieved of their posts at the university. The university recalled the dismissal as a great loss to the university.