- Title: Hungary prepares for 30th anniversary of fall of Iron Curtain
- Date: 15th August 2019
- Summary: BERLIN, GERMANY (FILE - APRIL 14, 2010) (REUTERS) BERLIN'S LANDMARK, THE BRANDENBURG GATE "QUADRIGA" STATUE ON TOP OF BRANDENBURG GATE PLAQUE ON GROUND READING "BERLIN WALL 1961 - 1989" WHERE WALL USED TO STAND AND SEPARATED EAST AND WEST BERLIN CARS DRIVING PAST VARIOUS OF FORMER AUSTRIAN BORDER GUARD, CHIEF INSPECTOR HANS GOELTL AND FORMER HUNGARIAN BORDER GUARD, LIEUTENANT COLONEL ARPAD BELLA SHAKING HANDS NEAR BRANDENBURG GATE, ABOVE COBBLE STONES INDICATING WHERE WALL USED TO STAND EAST GERMAN-MADE "TRABANT" CAR WITH GIRAFFE PAINTJOB PARKED NEARBY (SOUNDBITE) (German) FORMER HUNGARIAN BORDER GUARD, LIEUTENANT COLONEL ARPAD BELLA SAYING: "We never ever would have thought that 20 years on, we would be here together. At the time, that was a dream. Thank God we were able to make this visit, thanks to our Berlin friends." PHOTOGRAPHER TAKING PICTURES (SOUNDBITE) (German) FORMER AUSTRIAN BORDER GUARD, CHIEF INSPECTOR HANS GOELTL SAYING: "Well, what I am thinking about is freedom. You can witness how people can move around freely now and that makes us too very happy." (SOUNDBITE) (German) FORMER HUNGARIAN BORDER GUARD, LIEUTENANT COLONEL ARPAD BELLA SAYING: "People are so calm and full of self-confidence now." WOODEN CROSS WITH BARBED WIRE HANGING FROM IT AT MEMORIAL DEDICATED TO VICTIMS OF THE BERLIN WALL WHO LOST THEIR LIVES TRYING TO FLEE EAST BERLIN INTO WEST BERLIN WHITE CROSSES AT MEMORIAL, GERMAN PARLIAMENT (BUNDESTAG) IN BACKGROUND CROSS ON WALL DEDICATED TO LAST PERSON TO BE KILLED TRYING TO ESCAPE OVER BERLIN WALL, 20-YEAR-OLD CHRIS GUEFFROY SHOT TO DEATH BY EAST GERMAN BORDER GUARDS ON FEBRUARY 05,1989, NINE MONTHS BEFORE THE FALL OF THE WALL BELLA AND GOELTL WALKING OFF / GERMAN PARLIAMENT BUILDING
- Embargoed: 29th August 2019 13:15
- Keywords: iron curtain border crossing Berlin Wall anniversary Hungary Austria East German refugees
- Location: HEGYESHALOM & SOPONKOHIDA, HUNGARY / BERLIN, GERMANY
- City: HEGYESHALOM & SOPONKOHIDA, HUNGARY / BERLIN, GERMANY
- Country: Hungary
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA005ASBVQRR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Thirty years ago at a small road on the border between Hungary and Austria, hundreds of East Germans broke through a border gate and made their way to the West from one of the most oppressive of the communist regimes.
The event helped pave the way for the fall of the Iron Curtain and the reunification of Germany.
Hungary planned to open its border with Austria symbolically for three hours at the 1989 picnic but hundreds of East Germans, who had gathered in the hope of a chance to flee, broke through before the official opening.
Less than a month later, on September 11, Hungary formally opened its border with Austria and historians estimate that more than 60,000 East Germans had left via Hungary by early November, when the Berlin Wall came down on the night of November 9, 1989.
Almost 30 years later, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban next Monday plan to visit the Hungarian border town of Sopron where the Iron Curtain was first cut through.
A ceremony scheduled for the event foresees speeches of the two leaders and meetings between eyewitnesses.
(Production: Michele Sani, Tanya Wood)
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