The Municipality of Sopron and the Pan-European Picnic '89 Foundation held a commemorative event to mark the 33rd anniversary of the Pan-European Picnic and the border breakthrough in the Pan-European Picnic Memorial Park in Sopronpuszta, NW Hungary.
The commemoration was addressed by Sopron Mayor Ciprián Farkas; the Head of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Hungary, Michael Winzer; Member of Hungarian Parliament for Sopron and the surrounding region, Attila Barcza, and Member of the German Parliament, Knut Abraham.
The event featured a brass band Brass Brothers from Sopron, and was rounded off with a tasting of local flavors and wines.
Participants commemorated that 33 years ago, a gate on the Hungarian-Austrian border between Sankt Margarethen and Sopron, that had been locked for decades, was opened for a few hours – with the authorization of the Hungarian government. For many East Germans, it was an opportunity to escape to freedom.
The Hungarian Democratic Forum and the Paneuropean Union issued an invitation to a ‘Pan-European Picnic’. They wanted to demonstrate for open borders and a reunited Europe. The MEP Otto von Habsburg and the Hungarian Minister of State Imre Pozsgay were patrons of the event.
The news of the symbolic opening of the border spread like wildfire among the many citizens of the German Democratic Republic [East Germany], who were waiting in Hungary for a chance to flee to the West. About 700 of them then managed to cross the border to Austria near Sopron.
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