Helping fugitives to escape from the GDR
After the erection of the Wall in 1961, a large part of the West-Berlin population soon became involved in assisting people to escape from the eastern part of the city. Manfred Matthies and his brother were no exception and thus in 1961 they got involved in the activities of a student group that organized the escapes. Since they had fled themselves from the GDR only a couple of years before, they knew what it meant to be unable to get away from there any longer. In the beginning, personal contacts were used to smuggle relatives and friends from the eastern part of the city to the West. A common method in the early days was the forging of passes. The FRG citizens received a pass at Checkpoint Charlie which they could use to travel to East Berlin. This document would be immediately reprinted in West Berlin. The university at which Matthies was studying supplied the necessary technical equipment for this. With the fake reprinted pass, a citizen from East Berlin could pass through the checkpoint on the same day.