What Was Life Like in East Berlin?

Life in East Berlin during Communist rule was filled with fear and distrust, with residents experiencing food and employment shortages. East Berlin was cut off from West Germany in 1961 with the construction of the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall was taken down in 1989 and East and West Germany reunited in 1990.

The city of East Berlin existed from 1949-1990. It was the Soviet-occupied region of Berlin and the capital of East Germany. East Berliners faced monitoring by the state security service, which would set up bugging systems and wiretaps in search of rebellion movements. Travel between East Germany and West Germany was difficult and people in East Berlin found themselves cut off from their jobs, family and friends in West Berlin. Many people attempted to escape East Germany by going over the Berlin Wall during this time.

As of 2015, the former East Berlin continues to work to bring its services to the level of the western portion of the city. More prewar buildings exist in Eastern Berlin as opposed to Western Berlin, with many showing the signs of war. Soviet-style architecture can also be seen throughout Eastern Berlin and the area has a higher number of distinctive Ampelmannchen on its street lights.