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.