Ex-Austrian minister who helped tear down Iron Curtain dies

AP News
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Posted: Jun 01, 2017 10:53 AM
Ex-Austrian minister who helped tear down Iron Curtain dies

VIENNA (AP) — Former Austrian Foreign Minister Alois Mock has died, nearly three decades after he and his Hungarian counterpart made headlines by cutting through fencing that represented the communist Iron Curtain separating the two countries.

Mock died Thursday at age 82. He is most remembered for the fence-cutting ceremony in June 27, 1989, with then-Hungarian Foreign Minister Gyula Horn. It was captured in iconic photos that made front pages worldwide.

The symbolic opening between East and West was followed three months later with the first major event foreshadowing the end of communist rule in Eastern Europe. Hungary opened its border with Austria to East Germans transiting Hungary after turning their backs on their homeland.

Austrian leaders are paying tribute to Mock as an architect of Austria's European Union membership.

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This story has been corrected to show that the fence-cutting was nearly three decades ago and not more than three decades ago