When the Berlin Wall went up in 1961, East Germany was separated from West Germany. East Germany, centered in East Berlin, was controlled by the Soviet Union, and was a center of communism in Europe. To live in a democratic society, citizens of East Germany couldn’t just leave. They had to escape.
This could cost them their lives, but they went for it anyway to escape the shackles of communism. This stunning video shows four people making the swim for freedom, barely surviving an encounter with a German speedboat.
That era ended in 1990, but today, very similar situations exist in Cuba and North Korea. Both places are under a communist dictatorship, and in both, it is illegal for most citizens to leave the country’s borders. Both face serious poverty issues. Cuba is propped up by ally nations, such as Venezuela, and North Korea has ties to China and Russia.