Photo. Visitors at the opening of the exhibition, 'Drawings by Refugee Children,' August 29, 1953
&copy Landesarchiv Berlin - Willy Kiel

Station VI: Intermediate Examination A

At the sixth step in the application process, refugees were at last permitted to submit an application to receive a residence permit for West Germany and West Berlin. As part of the application, the refugee had to provide information about his or her person, those with whom he or she had fled and any family members remaining in East Germany. Also important was a description of the applicant’s reasons for leaving East Germany. Whereas during the 1950s the rationale covered several pages, later only a few keywords sufficed.

Civil servants from Intermediate Examination A were responsible for accepting and confirming that applications were complete. They also decided whether West German political parties (whose offices in the East maintained contacts in East Germany), the main churches or other organisations should be asked to provide an expert opinion on the credibility of the prospective refugee’s application.

Next station: Intermediate Examination B