At the end of World War II, the Soviet Union erected the Iron Curtain, a barrier that isolated Eastern European states under Soviet rule from the non-communist areas in Western Europe, enforcing rigid political, military, and ideological restrictions.
On September 11, 1951 Western German officials were stunned when a train under machine gun fire began barreling towards the Iron Curtain at 60 miles per hour. Shocked officials opened the barrier, thereby saving the lives of the passengers inside who were seeking sanctuary from the communist regime. Passengers who were unknowingly along for the ride were sent back to Czechoslovakia, but those wishing to stay were accepted as refugees. This victorious story of escape spread worldwide, and the organizers became international heroes.