Today is the anniversary of the Pan-European Picnic


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Pan-European Picnic
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"The Pan-European Picnic (German: Paneuropäisches Picknick; Hungarian: Páneurópai piknik) was a peace demonstration held on the Austrian-Hungarian border near the town of Sopron on 19 August 1989, an important event in political developments which led to the fall of the Iron Curtain, the reunification of Germany and in the end the eastern enlargement of the European Union.

In a symbolic gesture agreed to by both countries, a border gate on the road from Sankt Margarethen im Burgenland (Austria) to Sopronkőhida (Hungary) was to be opened for three hours. ...

More than 600 East Germans seized the opportunity presented by this brief lifting of the Iron Curtain, and fled into the west. In the run-up to August 19th, the organisers of the Pan-European Picnic had distributed pamphlets advertising the event. The Hungarian border guards, however, reacted judiciously to the growing number of people fleeing, and, despite their orders to shoot anyone who attempted to cross the border, did not intervene.

In Budapest and around the Lake Balaton, thousands of more East Germans were waiting for their chance to cross to border, not believing that the border would be opened, and not trusting the procedures in place. The number of people who crossed the border into the west on the day of this event was therefore limited to no more than a few hundred. Over the next few days, the Hungarian government increased in the number of guards patrolling its western border, so that only a relatively small number actually reached the west successfully. On 11 September 1989, Hungary finally opened its borders for citizens of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) for good.

The Pan-European Picnic is considered a highly significant milestone in the efforts that led to the end of the GDR and to the German reunification. Commemorative ceremonies are held each year on 19th of August at the place where the border was opened."

Since it's the 20th anniversary this year, German chancellor Angela Merkel will be present at the celebration.


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:thumb: awesome :)
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