East Germany: All But Closing the Door

At first it looked almost as if the Wall had come tumbling down. A startling number of East Germans who had been waiting as long as seven years for permission to move to West Germany were being granted exit visas: 25,400 in the first four months of this year, more than three times as many as in 1983.

Now, just as abruptly, East German Communist Party Leader Erich Honecker has all but slammed the door shut. In May, only 1,100 were allowed to leave, compared with 9,800 in April.

Honecker was apparently trying to get rid of political dissidents, church...

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