Hans Conrad Schuhmann, 56, a former East...


Hans Conrad Schuhmann, 56, a former East German soldier immortalized in a photograph as he leapt across a barbed wire fence to freedom in West Berlin, hanged himself Saturday. He left no note, and police said the motive was unclear.

He was serving in an East German army unit assigned to stop people from escaping when he fled across the border himself. He was in uniform and clutching his rifle when he was photographed jumping over a three-foot barrier of barbed wire Aug. 14, 1961 -- one day after Communist authorities closed the border and began construction of the Berlin Wall.

Dr. Daniel I. Axelrod, 87, a paleoecologist at the University of California at Davis who reconstructed the ancient landscapes of the West by examining plant fossils, died June 2 at his home in Davis.

He reported how wet forests slowly turned into Nevada's deserts over 40 million years of Earth's cooling and heating and tracked the migration of plants to places that suited them better.

Pub Date: 6/22/98

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