Trembling for a last time
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.