6 September 1990
Escapee-hunt With "Gamma-cannon"
Stasi X-ray All Transit Vehicles
[Translated from the original in German]
A Western vehicle passes through one of the checkpoint sensor plates. Photo: Jens Roetzsch/Ostkreuz/Stern.
Elk. Hamburg- On each street checkpoint between the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic, the Stasi X-rayed cars with gamma rays in the pre-checkpoint area, in order to discover hidden escapees.
According to information of the Abendblatt, at the border crossing-point Zarentin, in the driving direction of Hamburg, the checkpoint lay at the first stop, where a border official only quickly checked passports and merely compared the inhabitants of the vehicle with the presented papers. Autobahn master Manfred Kowski reported that members of the Ministry for State Security [MFS] performed jobs (or activities) that were unknown to him in the ceiling of a metal facility which today is a scrap pile next to the roadway. He noticed, though, that exactly under this autobahn crossing, smaller concrete plates than usual fanned the roadway.
According to statements of the "Stern", that's where the sensors were accommodated which measured the rays from the gamma source in the ceiling and reproduced the information on monitors - similar to an X-ray view at the doctor's. The radiation level (or strength) was, according to the report, very small; but whoever passed through the border frequently on the way to and from Berlin could be considerably loaded. The facilities (or arrangements) are reported to have been dismantled immediately after the opening of the borders.
THIS IS AN ABSTRACT TRANSLATION. THE ARTICLE PROCEEDS TO SPECULATE THAT THE RADIATION SOURCE WAS PROBABLY CESIUM 137, A MEDICAL RADIOACTIVE PRODUCT USED IN CANCER TREATMENT.
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