Twenty-five years ago, the Iron Curtain fell, and just like the barbed-wire fencing has disappeared from the landscape, our familiarity of what it used to be like to live near the fences has also gradually disappeared from our memory.
Nevertheless, the Iron Curtain was one of the most important phenomena of the history of Europe in the twentieth century.
It divided the old continent into two halves for long fifty years. It shattered contacts and relationships between the people living on opposite sides of the Curtain and it took many years to rebuild these relationships after the fall of the Curtain. It tragically affected the lives of tens of thousands of people who tried to overcome this barrier, or who were merely suspected of helping somebody to cross it. Many people were forcibly evicted from their homes because they lived near to it; others simply grew used to the thought that the Iron Curtain represents the end of the world.
For the project “Iron Curtain Stories”, organizations from the Czech Republic, Germany, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia and Romania were looking for interesting stories in which the Iron Curtain plays a central role. Almost all partner organizations worked with eye-witnesses, Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes analyzed archive materials. These stories are accessible in the on-line archive of Memory of Nations and also via our Memory of Nations application.