Refugee exodus to Germany – Film Screening at Goethe Centre: Train to Freedom
Prague 30 September 1989. Only weeks before the Wall of Shame in Berlin came down to reunite Germany, the West German Embassy in Prague, today the Chech Republic, finds itself the centre of the world’s political stage. For weeks refugees from East Germany have been streaming to the premises of the Palais Lobkowitz and the surrounding streets. Within days the fenced embassy compound transformed itself into a vast refugee camp.
Wrapped in blankets and living in tents, men and women, young and old and whole families are waiting for the politicians to act. A few belongings, memories of their past and dreams of a better life in the West are all that they bring along.
This is the moment the feature length documentary “Train to Freedom” begins. Composed from exclusive archival footage, reenactments and interviews with contemporary eyewitnesses, award winning directors Sebastian Dehnhardt and Matthias Schmidt tell the exceptional story of an exodus happening in front of the world’s eyes.
The audience accompanies the refugees on their exhausting train journey through then still communist East Germany to the border of West Germany and into a new life in the western world. Starting from Prague and having to cross the territory of East Germany and their former homeland again, the refugees are forerunners of a world-shaking event. A couple of weeks later the Berlin Wall crumbles, the Iron Curtain comes down and a new chapter of history begins.