It was 1989. Mum and I would drive about 20 minutes north of Gyor to cross the Slovakian border to fill up the car, because it was cheaper. The closest border crossing was closed due to upgrading works on the bridge above the Danube, so on this occasion we had to drive to Komarom, or as the Slovakians call it: Komarno.
We were just passing the Hungarian checkpoint, and started driving up the bridge, when we saw a group of people, about 10-15 of them as they just reached the bridge half way, where the flags of the two countries were blowing in the wind side by side. As they stepped into Hungary, they raised their hands and started clapping, and cheering… Mum waived back smiling, as we passed.
'East Germans, she said. 'They are crossing over to Czechoslovakia, than to Hungary, only to continue to Austria, and to finally arrive back in to Germany, but on the West side.'
There were a number of futile efforts by the member countries to break free from the communist block previously, such as Hungary’s 1956 revolution, so no one knew whether this time it would last. Just like before, the young and restless packed up and fled immediately. East Germans couldn’t just cross over to West Germany, neither to Austria at that time, so they had to do a round trip. And thousands did as their cars with the DDR sticker (Deutsche Demokratische Republik) filled the streets of Hungarian cities along the way. Until at least the Wall fell, months later…