From the foundation of the GDR in October of 1949 until the opening of the borders on 9th November 1989, around 3.5 million citizens of the around 17 million citizens left the East German state, 3 million of these by fleeing from East to West. A total of just under 95.000 people fled between the building of the Wall and September 1989. Approx. 900 GDR citizens paid with their life for their attempt to flee over the internal German border. In the summer of 1989, a flood of refugees fled the country. Thousands of citizens of the GDR sought refuge in the Federal German embassies in Prague, Warsaw and Budapest. After negotiations with the USSR and the GDR, the Federal German Foreign Minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher announced on 30th September in Prague the travel permit for around 6.000 refugees. The people "deported" by the GDR travelled with special trains through the territory of the GDR into the Federal Republic of Germany. During the second mass exodus from Prague and Warsaw, rioting occurred at railway stations in the GDR on 4th October. On 3rd November the government of the GDR permitted a direct departure of the citizens of the GDR via the border of the CSSR into the Federal Republic of Germany. Around 23.200 refugees came to the Federal Republic via the CSSR within a space of two days.
The flood of refugees via Hungary also continued unabated. When the Wall finally fell on 9th November, already more than 220.000 emigrants had arrived in the Federal Republic from the GDR.