Seizing The Moment


It took the Breite family barely 24 hours to abandon everything they knew and bolt for a new life in the West. Though their discontent had been brewing for years, Olaf, 28, and Marlies, 26, had never seriously contemplated leaving their East German village of Schonermark, near Potsdam, until Sept. 11. That night, shortly after midnight, Hungary began permitting East German refugees to cross over en masse into Austria. The Breites watched West German television coverage of the Great Escape and realized that the Iron Curtain had parted, but that it could be drawn shut again at any moment. By lunchtime...

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