Exhibition theme: Protest and Flight: East German refugees learn they may leave the country [11/56]

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September 10 1989
Hungary, Budapest, Malteser refugee camp Zugliget Church
Created By: Gerd Hernacz

License: Creative Commons License

From the Set

East German Refugees at the Order of Malta Relief Camp, Budapest, 10 September 1989

A television broadcast of the speech given by Hungarian foreign minister Gyula Horn (Wikipedia article, retrieved on April 23, 2009) on September 10, 1989, in which he gave GDR refugees permission to travel from Hungary to West Germany; Malteser emergency services began a large-scale operation in Hungary on August 27, 1989: "10,000 refugees from the GDR are being cared for in three camps before they are allowed to travel to the Federal Republic of Germany." (Retrieved and translated from Malteser Hilfsdienst, Erzdiözese München und Freising: Chronik 1955-2005, on April 23, 2009)


crowd, night, refugee, speech


camp, celebration, Christian Church, crowd, embassy, joy, omnibus, press, the, refugee, television, tent, wave of refugees


Order of Malta Ambulance Corps


Zugliget church

Other items in this set

Ultimately, it was the citizens of the GDR themselves who brought down the SED regime. From the summer of 1989 on, thousands of East Germans tried to flee to the West across the Hungarian-Austrian border and via the West German embassies in Budapest, Prague, and Warsaw. In East Germany itself, ever greater numbers of people supported the demands of the citizens' movements for free elections, freedom of the press, and freedom to travel, despite their fear of state repression. In October, mass protests, which now involved hundreds of thousands of demonstrators, spread across the entire country. Aware that their protest could no longer be stopped, people increasingly felt a desire to capture events on film.