Life for East Europeans was extremely difficult under a Communist regime. The Berlin Wall confined them within the boundaries of a physical wall that separated them from the West, forcing them to live under a repressive dictatorship that they did not want.
East Berliners were prohibited from travelling to democratic countries to see their families. Even though some restrictions were later lifted, obtaining a travel visa remained difficult. The state provided for the population by building masses of living accommodation and new apartments, however this did not mask the fact that there were huge economic differences from the West.
East Berliners had little choice of food or goods in the shops. There was no freedom of speech or democracy, and even being seen talking to a Westerner behind the Iron Curtain could place an East European at risk, as the regime did not want them to mix with Westerners and have their own ideas of democracy. It was all about the regime keeping control and holding on to power.