Producer
Director
Sebastian Dehnhardt, Matthias Schmidt
Editor
Genre
Documentary
Broadcaster
MDR, arte
Length
1 x 90'
Format
HDTV
Year
2014
Train to freedom

30 September 1989 shortly before seven in the evening. Almost 4000 people crowd the garden of the Prague embassy. They are all waiting for the news of Hans Dietrich Genscher. Finally he appears on the balcony.  "Dear compatriots. We have come to you to inform you that today your departure..." The rest of his speech is drowned out by loud cheering.

It is the beginning of one of the most significant events in German post-war history. That same evening, the first train is supposed to leave Prague for the FRG. But what then becomes known causes horror: The trains are to take a diversion. They have to go through the GDR.

For the embassy refugees, a time of fear and hope now begins. Hardly any of the passengers will ever forget the coming 6-hour train journey. Stasi staff board the train and collect the passports, people try to climb onto the train, some climb into the carriages through the narrow windows. Wherever the train stops there are riots, brawls and arrests. At 6 a.m., the first train finally reaches its destination, Hof - in West Germany. The exhausted and at the same time overjoyed refugees lie crying in each other's arms. Helpers in Hof receive them and provide them with food, drinks and sleeping facilities.

In the 90-minute docu-drama "Zug in die Freiheit" (Train to Freedom), we retell the historical event that played a decisive role in shaping the path to German unity. The film will focus on the perspective of the people who sat on the trains and had to hope that their departure would not be stopped prematurely. The film will be made up of high-quality archive material, interviews with contemporary witnesses and re-enactments.

Train to freedom

30 September 1989 shortly before seven in the evening. Almost 4000 people crowd the garden of the Prague embassy. They are all waiting for the news of Hans Dietrich Genscher. Finally he appears on the balcony.  "Dear compatriots. We have come to you to inform you that today your departure..." The rest of his speech is drowned out by loud cheering.

More films