Trading of East German political prisoners
Häftlingsfreikauf is the term used in Germany for an informal, and for many years, secret, series of transactions between the German Democratic Republic and the German Federal Republic between 1962 and 1989. Over this period nearly 34,000 East German political prisoners were "freigekauft" (ransomed). West Germany paid East Germany, generally in cash or goods, an average of approximately 40,000 Deutsche Marks per person. Political prisoners whose freedom had been purchased could choose to be expelled directly from their place of detention to West Germany, and frequently were given no notice or opportunity to communicate with their families, nor to say goodbye to fellow prisoners, before being transferred to the West.