Flight from the Republic
During the existence of the GDR 3 million citizens fled the SED state, 2.7 of which left before the building of the Wall in 1961. After the Wall had been built, a total of just under 95,000 people fled the country until September 1989. Most of these fled in the autumn and winter of 1961 and from 1986, so-called stayers - citizens of the GDR who used a journey to the West to take the opportunity to flee.
Only very few people were able to flee over the Wall. More than 800 refugees were killed in their attempt to flee, many more were injured or where caught and imprisoned. In the 28 years in which the Wall was up, every second political prisoner has been sentenced for an attempted flight from the Republic. With the occupation of the embassies in the autumn of 1989 and the opening of the Hungarian-Austrian border, a flood of refugees began to roll which led to an exodus of 25.000 people per month.
This election with their feet played a large role in the ever increasing pressure that was being put on the leadership of the SED. When after the involuntary Fall of the Berlin Wall 130,000 citizens left the GDR in November alone and the demonstrations in the country became ever larger and more forceful, the leadership of the SED found it impossible to stay in power for much longer.