Let’s face it — it’s easy for an American to flub up when visiting a communist country. So many rights we take for granted are just plain illegal — like taking photos of border patrol lookout towers. Actually, this is probably frowned upon in the US, too.
Definitely, however, in East Germany in the late 1980s, taking photos of a guard tower was a bad idea. This may seem like a definite “duh!” to seasoned travelers, but for a college student who, at times, exercised bad judgement anyway, it was a cool image for a photo album.
I was the college student and the incident happened while on a train trip. I was with fellow students who were studying abroad in the Netherlands. We were on a field trip, basically, with our Dutch history professor.