I saw my friend at her home, a very nice flat that her parents had tastefully decorated (quite a contrast to the grayness of the Soviet style housing complex the apartment was in). She excitedly showed me her room. We were the same age, so we both were into bands. Her room had Beatles posters all over and I started to excitedly share that I, too, liked the Beatles. She stopped me; motioned to her mouth to signal to be quiet. Later, when we were outside, she explained that she isn’t allowed to have Beatles posters because they’re from the West. She thought her room might be bugged. Her own room! The room of a 19-year-old! No privacy. No safety.
Returning to the Western part, imagine walking into a short, narrow aisle with mirrors on top of the wall angled so that the East German police officer could see your feet even though he sat behind a wall and a window. Why? Someone might try to go with you from East to West. How I don’t know because there were doors on each side of the aisle. You were the only one in there. Still they checked. If you were in a car, they’d check the size of your gas tank to make sure no one could be in part of it. And under the car with a little mirror thing – just in case someone might be clinging to it.