Have a look at this great sim of the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie:
I crossed the border into East Germany on three occasions:
1. In 1963 when I was a student in Hamburg. The West German government organised heavily subsidised trips to Berlin for foreign students. The Wall had been there for just two years. There were memorials all along the Wall to people who had been shot trying to flee to the West. We were allowed to cross into East Berlin on foot via Checkpoint Charlie.
2. In 1976 when I was a lecturer at Ealing College. I spent a month on a course for teachers of German at the then Karl-Marx University in Leipzig. I had a room in a flat with an East German family. It was a very good course and improved my German considerably. I travelled around a bit, visiting Dresden, Naumburg, Jena, Bitterfeld, Halle and Colditz Castle. Life was pretty grim in East Germany at that time.
3. I walked through Checkpoint Charlie into East Berlin again on Sunday, 12 November 1989. This is quite a story. My full report is here:
What a week!
Now we have a whole generation of kids who have grown up and have never experienced the division of Germany. This excellent video on YouTube reminds us of what the border looked like:
"Eingemauert!" Die innerdeutsche Grenze
Graham Davies (Groovy Winkler)