Sopron (Ödenburg)
9494 Sopron, Fürdő sor 49, Hungary
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A hole underneath the fence

Dostupné v: English | Deutsch

During a summer holiday in Hungary in 1989, Christian Weiss fled at the age of 13 with his family across the Hungarian border to Austria. Their escape began in Sopron (Ödenburg), where the family was helped by a woman in a flower shop, who told them about a suitable place for escape and handed them a map that was hard to acquire in the GDR. In the evening they were secretly driven by Austrian friends into a forest they had to cross in order to get to the border. The family members had to crawl on the ground in the forest until they came to a place where they had to run across railway tracks. The noise alerted two border guards. The family remained anxiously hiding in a bush until Christian walked out of the bush directly to the border guards. His parents must have been very terrified by this. “At some point, I felt that they had spotted us anyway and that it was merely a question of time before they’d catch us. Thus I stood up and I reached out my hand to them, saying: “a very nice evening to you gentlemen.” Then the family had to go with the border guards for a while. At first, they thought that they had been arrested. But then they stopped and the border guards stroked Christian’s little brother’s hair. They showed them where the border was. “They made this V-sign, victory sign, with their two index fingers and then a sign with their hands meaning ‘we haven’t seen anything’.” When the family reached the fence, they had to dig a hole underneath it with their bare hands. Christian remembers one of the most moving moments of his life: “We had to dig a hole underneath the fence and then, my mom, I think, went first, then my brother and then me. Meanwhile my father was trying to pull the fence upwards without injuring himself. When we were already on the other side of the fence, my father said: ‘Please, don’t leave me here’.”

Christian Weiss

Christian Weiss

Christian Weiss was born in Erfurt in 1976. In the summer of 1989, during a holiday in Hungary, shortly after the “Pan-European Picnic”, he fled at the age of 13 with his family across the Hungarian border to Austria. On the run, they were stopped by two border guards, with whom Christian shook hands and said friendly “have a nice evening” before the eyes of his terrified parents. The border guards, apparently touched by the trust of the child, showed the family the border fence and left them alone to dig their way to freedom with their bare hands.

Sopron (Ödenburg)

Dostupné v: English | Deutsch

Sopron is situated in the west of Hungary near to the Neusiedler Lake. Parts of the city extend into Austria. The town with its 60 000 inhabitants is located in the Győr-Moson-Sopron district. It is one of the oldest cities in the country. The University of West Hungary was founded here in 1735. On August 19, 1989, a so-called “Pan-European picnic” took place in Sopron, in the course of which many GDR citizens were able to cross the border into Austria to freedom.

Sopron (Ödenburg)

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A hole underneath the fence

A hole underneath the fence

Christian Weiss
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