East Germans defected by various ways like digging long tunnels under the Berlin Wall, waiting for favorable winds and taking hot air balloons, sliding along aerial wires, flying ultralight aircraft and, in one case, driving a sports car at full speed through the basic, initial fortifications.
Two families escaped over the Berlin Wall by building a hot air balloon. A mechanic and a mason, used their mechanical know-how to build a hot air balloon engine out of old propane cylinders. Their wives pieced together a makeshift balloon from scraps of canvas and old bed sheets.
Often, the border between West and East Berlin used to pass directly to homes. So, in most cases, the entrance was on the eastern side, and the windows looked out to the West. When building of the Berlin Wall started, many residents used to jump from the windows to the street, where they were caught by Western firefighters or just regular city folks.
The picture captured a similar case. 77-year-old Frieda Schulze tries to escape from the window of a house, which is located in the eastern sector of Berlin. East German secret service officers are seen in the windows, who are trying to pull her back.
In 1963, an East German soldier named Wolfgang Engels stole a tank and drove it through the Berlin Wall at top speed to try and escape.
In September 1989, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher pleaded with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev not to let the Berlin Wall fall and confided that she wanted the Soviet leader to do what he could to stop it. She (and the French President) were fearful that a unified Germany would disrupt the “balance of power” in Europe.