Photo. Refugees waiting to be admitted to the Marienfelde Refugee Center, August 14, 1961
© DHM-Schirner

August 2013

Invitation to the Grand Opening of the German Opera in Berlin

Invitation to the Grand Opening of the German Opera in Berlin
The Berlin German Opera's newly constructed Hall opened with Mozart's “Don Giovanni” on Sunday, September 24, 1961. Among the invited guests was, in addition to representatives of politics and show-business, Mr. Roos – who had fled through barbed wire into West Berlin ten days earlier.

Mr. Roos and a friend received tickets to the opera from a guard at the Marienfelde Refugee Center, where Mr. Roos was staying during the refugee intake process. Not knowing what awaited them, the friends traveled to the event by bus. To their great surprise, they found that their seats were near those of Ruth and Willy Brandt. They listened to the opera, enjoying the opportunity to attend. At the reception following the concert, they were surprised once again – an official from the senate introduced them to the Brandts, the President of West Germany – Heinrich Lübke – and his wife, as well as other politicians. They were asked questions about their flight from the East and treated as refugees. The meeting with Willy Brandt left an impression on Mr. Roos that he still feels today.

At the Marienfelde Refugee Center Museum on the 33rd Long Night of Museums (Lange Nacht der Museen, August 31, 2013), Mr. Roos will speak about his experiences, his flight from East Germany, and the start of his new life in the West.