Magdeburg Central Railway Station (Hauptbahnhof)
Bahnhofstraße 69, 39104 Magdeburg, Germany
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Trembling for a last time

Dostupné v: English | Deutsch

During Easter time of 1989, the Heinz family received a notice of approval of their application for emigration that they had submitted in 1987. They were asked to leave the territory of the German Democratic Republic within 24 hours. Their train from Zwickau to Hanover was departing on March 23, 1989, at 20:03. At around midnight, the train reached the Magdeburg Central Station, where it halted and the emigrants had to stay there for one and a half hours. They had to hand in their passports while the GDR customs officials searched the train and the luggage of the passengers. “I had a small suitcase with audio tapes for children. These tapes were a present that my grandmother had sent me. She would send me packages from the West with beautiful presents, mostly audio plays like Benjamin Blümchen and the like. And that customs official took away my case with the tapes. As a child, of course, I was very sad about it. I was desperate, because I was afraid that he would not give me back my tapes. I was six years old then and it wasn't very nice. I was afraid of those customs officials in their uniforms and caps. They had this strict look in their faces. I didn't like them at all. He took my tapes and it was not clear at all whether I'd get them back. They could do just anything they liked and keep everything they liked,” recalled Sandra Hildebrand. After a final hour of trembling, the family got back the tapes, as well as their passports, and they were allowed to continue to Hannover, where they were picked up by Sandra’s grandfather and taken to Frankfurt am Main.

Sandra Hildebrand

Sandra Hildebrand

Sandra Hildebrandt was born on February 10, 1983, in Zwickau. She spent the first six years of her life – most of her childhood – in the former GDR. In March 1989, (two years after they had submitted their application), she left the GDR officially with her parents and until her graduation in 2002 she lived in Frankfurt am Main. She tells the story of a moving period of her life when she and her family were living for a year “out of boxes” and had to learn “how the system is actually ticking.”

Magdeburg Central Railway Station (Hauptbahnhof)

Dostupné v: English | Deutsch

The Magdeburg Central Railway Station is located in the center of the regional capital of Saxony -Anhalt. The railway station serves as an important hub of long-distance transportation. As it is very close to the former inner German border, many emigrants from East Germany, whose applications had been approved, travelled by train via Magdeburg. The customs controls of the German Democratic Republic were carried out in Magdeburg before the emigrants were allowed to cross the border.

Magdeburg Central Railway Station (Hauptbahnhof)

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Trembling for a last time

Trembling for a last time

Sandra Hildebrand
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