East-West contacts

For the opposition in the GDR, connections to the Federal Republic of Germany and to West Berlin were of the utmost importance. In particular civil rights activists who had moved to the West or been expelled as well as correspondents accredited in the GDR and working for the West German media helped the groups to gain publicity in the West.

They created communication channels between East and West and provided materials urgently needed to produce underground newspapers. Banned books were smuggled into the GDR, dissident manuscripts and letters taken across the border into the West. Journalists informed the international public about outrages in the GDR, about human rights violations and arrests.

In the second half of the 1980s, the division of Germany and of Berlin was a major topic of discussion, particularly due to the opposition Initiative for Rejection of the Practice and Principle of Separation. This initiative repeatedly warned of the negative repercussions of isolation on the East Germans, and called for the situation to be changed.

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