World

25th anniversary of East German exodus to the West commemorated in Prague

  • Former German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, center, and his spouse Barbara Schmidt Genscher, left, meet with refugees from former Eastern Germany at the German embassy in Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, during celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the exodus of East Germans. East Germans who sought refuge at the West German embassy in Prague were told by Genscher that they were allowed to go west shortly before the 1989 wave of anti-communist revolutions. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

    Former German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, center, and his spouse Barbara Schmidt Genscher, left, meet with refugees from former Eastern Germany at the German embassy in Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, during celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the exodus of East Germans. East Germans who sought refuge at the West German embassy in Prague were told by Genscher that they were allowed to go west shortly before the 1989 wave of anti-communist revolutions. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)  (The Associated Press)

  • Former German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher poses with a newspaper on the balcony of the German embassy in Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, during celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the exodus of East Germans. East Germans who sought refuge at the West German embassy in Prague were told by Genscher that they were allowed to go west shortly before the 1989 wave of anti-communist revolutions. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

    Former German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher poses with a newspaper on the balcony of the German embassy in Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, during celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the exodus of East Germans. East Germans who sought refuge at the West German embassy in Prague were told by Genscher that they were allowed to go west shortly before the 1989 wave of anti-communist revolutions. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)  (The Associated Press)

  • Former German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, center, meets with refugees from former Eastern Germany at the German embassy in Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, during celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the exodus of East Germans. East Germans who sought refuge at the West German embassy in Prague were told by Genscher that they were allowed to go west shortly before the 1989 wave of anti-communist revolutions. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

    Former German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, center, meets with refugees from former Eastern Germany at the German embassy in Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, during celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the exodus of East Germans. East Germans who sought refuge at the West German embassy in Prague were told by Genscher that they were allowed to go west shortly before the 1989 wave of anti-communist revolutions. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)  (The Associated Press)

A former foreign minister of West Germany has arrived in Prague to meet former refugees from the East and commemorate events that led to communism's collapse in Eastern Europe and the reunification of Germany.

Hans-Dietrich Genscher struck a deal with East German authorities to allow thousands of East German citizens who sought refuge at the West German embassy in Prague to go West. Genscher told them the news from the embassy's balcony on Sept. 30, 1989.

Genscher greeted some of the refugees Tuesday at the embassy's garden, which thousands packed in 1989. One of them, 46-year-old Franka John, says it was "highly emotional" to come back after her life changed for the better.

Later that year, communist regimes in the region began falling in a wave of mostly peaceful revolutions.