Henry Leuschner, born in 1962, refused to serve in the military, opting instead to complete alternative civilian service by working in construction. Beginning at the age of eighteen, he applied to legally leave the GDR. As his emigration was not permitted, Leuschner, together with a friend, attempted to flee to Bavaria on April 1, 1981.
During his attempted escape, he was seriously injured by a gun shot wound. He underwent several operations at Charité Hospital before being transferred to the prison hospital in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen, where he had further operations. Because of his severe injuries, Leuschner was released from prison. A year later, he was granted departure from the GDR.
He lived in America and Asia for many years. After 1990, he served as a witness in a trial regarding the protection of the Berlin Wall. Since 2013, Leuschner has been a visiting speaker at the memorial.