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German History in Documents and Images
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Opening of the Iron Curtain (August 19, 1989)
After Hungary had begun dismantling its border installations on the Austrian side on May 2, 1989, the “Paneuropean Union,” a European unity movement founded in 1922, organized a “Paneuropean Picnic” at the Austro-Hungarian border near Sopron on August 19, 1989. During the event, one of the frontier barriers was symbolically opened. About 600 GDR citizens who had traveled to Hungary availed themselves of this opportunity to cross the border into Austria unhindered and thus reach the West. Shown here are two Hungarian frontier officials opening the barrier. Photo: Votava.