Following up from BMW’s series of short films, the brand is back with another one that tells the story of freedom, ingenuity and engineering skill.
Thousands of exhibits in the Berlin Wall Museum on Friedrichstrasse, Berlin, commemorate the history of the once divided city, the tightly controlled border between East and West Germany and the people who sought their way to freedom. On the upper floor near the window that overlooks Checkpoint Charlie, a BMW Isetta was once used as an escape car.
Klaus-Günter Jacobi (age 79) regularly accompanies visitors through the museum as a tourist guide, but not many know that it was his idea to hide a person inside the tiny bubble car and to cross the border with the unnoticed passenger. This is how his best friend Manfred Koster managed to escape from East to West Berlin, and how similarly converted Isetta’s also helped nine others escape the German Democratic Republic.
While it seems impossible to hide a person inside a BMW Isetta, car mechanic Jacobi cut an opening into the trim behind the seat bench, shifted the shelf upwards and removed the spare wheel, heating and air filter, he also exchanged the 13-litre fuel tank for a 2-litre canister to make space for a hidden passenger.
Behind The Scenes
“The Small Escape” was produced by director Alex Feil, camera man Khaled Mohtaseb and set designer Erwin Prieb. The props, costumes, vehicles and street sets were created in Budapest as a backdrop for 1960s Berlin. A checkpoint complete with wall and border strip was recreated resulting in an oppressive atmosphere which continues to grow throughout the course of the film. “Since their invention, automobiles have brought freedom and self-determination to humankind. Cars bring people together. This is something one should always also keep in mind in the current debate. The movie emphasises this. The moving escape story with the BMW Isetta can also be seen as a symbol of the invaluable value cars and individual mobility can have. It’s all about freedom, independence and dreams. Our movie recognises the drive and courage of the people who made this successful escape possible”, Jens Thiemer, Head of BMW Brand Management said.
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