Perhaps Berlin’s most famous border crossing was the vehicle and pedestrian gate known as Checkpoint Charlie. That site, near the intersection of Friedrichstrasse and Zimmerstrasse, was often depicted in literature and film, especially thrillers and spy stories.
Early on, when the border was made of barbed wire and other fencing, people cut through or leapt from apartment windows into the West. To prevent this, East German authorities bricked up windows in buildings near the border.
Still, people found ways to escape. They built tunnels, installed false seats in cars, even concocted hot air balloons to take them west. Some even escaped through the sewer system that ran below streets on both sides of the wall.
The last person who didn't make it over the Berlin Wall was shot on February 2, 1989, adding to the clamor to bring it down later that year.