In the German Democratic Republic (GDR), leaving the country without state permission was against the law and was known as “escape from the Republic”. Those who tried to escape were threatened by long prison sentences. Following the construction of the Berlin wall in 1961, fleeing the state became extremely dangerous. However, many people still risked their lives trying to escape the GDR. Some tried to escape through the Inner German Border, others tried to cross the border in socialist neighbour countries. The escape routes were dangerous Many escapees were severely injured or died either because the dangerous routes or through the use of firearms by GDR border soldiers.