Rose wrapped in Barbed Wire

Rose wrapped in Barbed Wire

We arrived in Sopron, Hungary two days after the 20th anniversary of the Pan-European Picnic.
This small open-air exhibit of   that historic peace demonstration brought back a lot of memories from our five years living in West Berlin, the wall, the watch towers, guards etc. – and the thrill of seeing the iron curtain fall. This exhibit of freedom gave me goosebumps!

I’m embarrassed to confess my history illiteracy.  I was not even aware that the beautiful little town of Sopron, where we had planned to spend a week played such an important part in the history of the fall of the Iron Curtain.
I was just strolling around town on my first day, taking in the sights when I came upon this mural inside an iron gate.

The passionate kiss between Breznyev and Honecker drew me closer, well especially the mural next to it and then I realized where I was. This was THE SPOT! The very place where people restless, tired of 60 years of looking at each other across a fence heard about something unique happening, word spread – and everybody gathered around full of hope mixed with scepticism and frustration

In a symbolic gesture agreed to by Austria and Hungary, a border gate was to be opened for three hours on August 19th 1989. Austria’s foreign minister Alois Mock and his Hungarian colleague Gyula Horn together cut through the border fence.

The organisers of the peace demonstration “Pan-European Picnic” had distributed pamphlets advertising the event as a   gigantic picnic and more than 600 East Germans gathered close to Sopron not ready to believe what was about to happen. When it did they seized this opportunity to flee into the west, some leaving their beloved Trabants behind. (One is at display at this open-air memorial)
The Hungarian border guards had orders to shoot anyone who attempted to cross the border, but they chose not to intervene.
True heroes in my eyes!

Pan European Picnic Memorial

Pan European Picnic Memorial

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