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More East Germans Converge on Prague Embassy; East Germany Demands Expulsion

October 2, 1989

PRAGUE, Czechoslovakia (AP) _ Hundreds of East Germans poured into the West Germany Embassy today, hoping to join 7,000 others who fled West during the weekend. East Germany demanded that West Germany expel the new arrivals.

East Germany filed an official protest with West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s chief of staff, Rudolf Seiters, demanding that Bonn throw out those who have arrived since the dramatic exodus during the weekend.

East Germany’s official ADN news agency said the nation’s permanent representative in Bonn, Horst Neubauer, complained to Seiters that West Germany was reneging on an agreement by harboring the newcomers.

West German government urged East Berlin to allow the second wave of East German refugees to also emigrate to the West. West German officials have said there were no strings attached to the earlier transfer.

Neubauer, according to ADN, told Seiters that it was East Germany’s decision to let the earlier group of refugees leave on humanitarian grounds because the embassy compounds had become unhealthy due to overcrowding.

Neubauer accused West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher of falsely taking credit for the resolution of the refugee standoff.

Despite roadblocks in the area and strict identity checks, between 500 and 600 East Germans have made their way inside the compound here, refugees reported. About 100 new refugees were at the embassy in Warsaw.

Czech police patrolled the area with dogs during the night, and some refugees said police had resorted to violence to stem the flow of East Germans. One woman said police had dragged and kicked her family.

A diplomat from the mission hurried out to rescue one man who clung to the embassy fence as policemen tried to drag him away. The diplomat put his arm around the East German, and police allowed him to lead the man inside. Police then freed another refugee, who had been handcuffed to a park bench nearby.

East German agreed to the refugee transfer on Saturday and thousands of East Germans from Prague and Warsaw departed on Sunday. As they left, however, hundreds of other East Germans trying to get West convered on the embassies, hoping they too would be granted safe passage to West Germany.

East Germany had harsh words for those who emigrated West during the weekend.

″With their behavior they have trampled on moral values and excluded themselves from our society. No one should cry any tears for them,″ said a government statement issued late Sunday by the state ADN news agency.

In Washington, White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said, ″We are pleased that these refugees are being allowed access to the West. ... It looks like the officials there are taking a responsible approach in trying to help these people get to the West.″

In mid-September, East Germany’s Communist leaders registered fierce protests when Hungary’s liberal leaders opened their border to the West and thousands of East Germans fled.

The exodus through Hungary continued overnight. Border authorities in Bavaria reported 1,051 new arrivals by early today. In all, about 2,000 refugees fled through Hungary during the weekend, officials said.

West German government spokesmen disclosed that Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze played an important role in winning the refugees’ release from Prague and Warsaw during the weekend, and said Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev has been in touch with Bonn by telephone throughout the continuing refugee saga.

Gorbachev is expected in East Berlin to help commemorate 40 years of Communist rule in a country that has already lost more than 100,000 people to the westward exodus this year.

The Soviet Comunist Party daily Pravda today devoted almost all of its fifth page to feting the East German anniversary and said not a word about the refugee exodus.

About 7,000 East German refugees, many weeping with joy, pulled into West German train stations early Sunday after East Berlin agreed to let them emigrate.

Some said they jumped aboard the freedom trains as they passed through East Germany, which agreed to the exodus on condition the refugees travel via their homeland. That allowed East Berlin to say the refugees were being ″expelled.″

The latest arrivals in West Germany follow more than 26,000 East Germans who have fled through Hungary since Sept. 10, when Budapest broke ranks with the rest of the East bloc and opened its border with Austria.

The extraordinary accord permitting the latest refugees to go to the West followed discussions involving East and West Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, the United States, the Soviet Union and France. It underscored dramatic changes in the Soviet bloc and growing divisions among its member states.

East Germany, under 77-year-old leader Erich Honecker, has been an outspoken opponent of the reforms advocated by Gorbachev.

Many of those arriving Sunday aboard packed trains in the northern Bavarian city of Hof had tears streaming down their faces. Others cheered and clapped wildly.

″We had no future there,″ 34-year-old Uwe Kuester of Cottbus said of his Communist homeland.

Well-wishers handed out bottles of wine, champagne and fruit as the newcomers disembarked.

West German law automatically grants East Germans citizenship on arrival.

Update hourly