In 1979 two families sought to escape East Germany in a hot-air balloon

Originally published at:

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For those who are able to decipher Google Translate’s results: have a go here.

TL; DR: quite current German dramatisation of the events, probably not coming to a cinema near you, has had a rather ok critical reception.

And yes, the story is totally bonkers for people who never lived in an oppressive regime.
Sidenote: THAT one build the wall to keep people in


For those of us who are old enough, remember this one?


yeah totally thought of this when I saw this story

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You mean the Anti-Fascist Defensive Barrier? Supposedly it was there to prevent the West Germans (who were depicted as unrepentant Nazis in GDR propaganda) from invading, but it was a bit odd how the guards seemed to be facing the wrong way for that to work…


If you’re ever in Prague, the technical museum, among many other wonders (Kepler’s actual instruments!), has this guy’s bicycle:

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I have vague memories of watching a kid’s film circa 1974 where two kids use a hot air balloon to escape from east germany or maybe it was germany during nazi times can’t be certain, but there was a scary part where the grownup bad guys were going to get them and they were holed up in a lighthouse.

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I remember reading about this in (I think) Popular Mechanics back in the day. It was amazing how resourceful they were in putting the balloon together.

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It was most certainly to stop the brain drain from East Germany (and other parts of the Eastern Bloc), not question at all.


It wasn’t (just) about brains, that would be a oversimplification.

You are aware that I grew up in the Germanies? I have vivid memories of the border controls. I also pride myself to have planted one of the oaks of an alley which a certain mr. beuys started planting on the actual death strip. We had to use a pickaxe, and the tree can’t have survived long on that soil…


Yes, I’m aware of that fact, but many of the people escaping had needed skills that impacted the Eastern economies in serious ways. Prior to building the wall in 61, that was a serious problem and East Berlin was one of the best means of getting out prior to that. The brain drain was a serious problem that from the Eastern perspective had to be addressed and this was part of the solution.

Sorry if I’m not writing a dissertation here on this issue… I suppose that means I shouldn’t open my mouth on the issue.


No, I am the one who’s sorry.

I didn’t really reply to you, I now realise. Of course you know. It’s even your profession to know. I just didn’t want to let anyone think that would be the beginning and the end of the idea of this wall.

Sorry, I didn’t intend to lecture you. Or ask for lectures.

I’ll see myself out for a while and get cold.
Eh. No.
Cool off.


Okay, fair enough. I probably was a little too jumpy too.

Carry on!

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Thank you, was not aware that there was a new movie!

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Never saw it, but I was trying to think of that film when I saw the headline. Disney, IIRC.

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Sounds familiar, Disney. We saw it in the theater, but you know…many years ago.

Checks IMDB

Yup, a Disney/Bavaria Film co-production.

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