Judgment in Berlin

The True Story of a Plane Hijacking, a Cold War Trial, and the American Judge Who Fought for Justice

"Suspenseful...moving...equal to any fictional thriller." San Francisco Chronicle

In August 1978, the Iron Curtain still hung heavily across Europe. To escape from oppressive East Berlin, an East German couple, Hans Detlef Alexander Tiede and Ingrid Ruske, hijacked a Polish airliner and diverted it to the American sector of West Berlin. Along with the couple, several passengers spontaneously defected to the West, and were welcomed by US officials. But within hours, Communist officials reminded the West of the anti-hijacking agreements in the Warsaw Pact, and thus the fugitives were arrested by the US State Department.

Thirty-four years after World War II, the United States built a court in the middle of West Berlin, the former capital of the Third Reich, in the building that once housed the Luftwaffe, to try the hijacking couple. Former NJ district attorney, now a judge, Herbert J. Stern was appointed the "United States Judge for Berlin." What followed was a trial full of maneuvers and strategies that would put Perry Mason to shame, and answered the question: what is allowed to people seeking freedom? 

Judgment in Berlin, also a major motion picture starring Martin Sheen and Sean Penn, is unsurpassed as a true-life suspense story, with its vivid accounts of daring escapes, close calls, diplomatic intrigue, and dramatic courtroom confrontations. The original edition won the Freedom Foundation Award, and this updated edition includes a new introduction from author and trial judge Herbert J. Stern.

More books from this author: Herbert J. Stern