There's an outstanding article by N. Richardson-Little on his blog discussing comparisons between refugees from East Germany and the refugees flooding into Europe and elsewhere today. Here's a sample (bolding is mine):
The other main objection to the comparison between victims at the Berlin Wall and the mass death of migrants at the edges of Europe is that the East Germany deployed lethal force to prevent it's own people from escaping. According to this logic, however, the moral flaw with the Berlin Wall was that its guards were simply wearing the wrong uniforms.If the positions were reversed and the same Berlin Wall was manned by West German soldiers gunning down fleeing refugees from the East, would that have made it all okay? If they had simply arranged it so that hundreds drowned in the Spree and the Havel as they tried to cross the border, would that have been alright? When decrying the crimes of communism, the cold and brutal economic logic of the Berlin Wall is condemned as inhuman and freedom of movement and family reunification held up as the highest of human rights. In contemporary discussions of borders and refugees, the argument seems to rapidly flip on its head with the defense of borders for the sake of national interests held up to be the highest duty. How much difference is there between the freedom that Peter Fechter died seeking, and the freedom sought by thousands from Syria, Eritrea, and elsewhere in the Europe of today, and dying in the Mediterranean trying to reach it?
Perspective, as always, is everything. Go read the whole thing.