Michael Naue, born in 1963 in East Berlin, was not compliant with the governing socialist rule beginning as a teenager. He repeatedly came into conflict with state authorities, and his school life was defined by the harassment of teachers and censorship. He left school at the age of fourteen to begin an apprenticeship working on the railroad.
The Ministry for State Security was aware that Naue was a practicing Buddhist. Under miserable working conditions, the restraints brought on by cultural censorship and familial issues, Michael Naue planned his escape from East Germany. His attempt to flee via Hungary in November 1983 failed. A month later, he tried to cross the inner-city border to West Berlin but was arrested by the Stasi.
Neue was convicted of "unlawful border crossing" and sentenced to two years in prison. Following months spent in the detention center of the Stasi in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen, he was transferred to the Naumberg prison facility, where he was imprisoned from April to December 1984. In December 1984, he was released to West Germany after the FRG paid the GDR for his release.