Would you like to live here? This is my favorite photo of the Berlin Wall because it speaks visualy to the real nature of totolitarianism. You are looking at the front of the Brandenburg Gate which was just inside the Eastern Zone. It is in plain view and only a matter of a few paces from the Wall yet unobtainable behind the barrier and the barbed wire.
This photo shows the gate from the side with the wall and an admonitory sign.
Here you can see a West German Street that was literally truncated at the wall, which runs almost invisibly in the background.
Officially, as citizens of one of the four-power ruling coalition that controlled the city of Berlin (USA, France, England, and Russia), we were allowed to enter the East Zone through the historic Checkpoint Charlie. Below are pictures of the vehicle entrance and the pedestrian entrance as it looked in 1963.
Once in the East you were struck by an obvious change in general environment. Streets were broad but fairly empty of both vehicles and people.
Newer post-war buildings were somber, utilitarian, and unadorned.
This building was nearer to the wall and the roof edge, though hard to see from this old slide, was covered with barbed wire.
Below was an East German play area that ended at the wall just visible in the background.
At first East German buildings abutted closely to the wall, but soon more of these structures were razed in order to form a so called dead zone through which escapees would have to traverse or tunnel under before they could reach the West.