European StoriesMemories Across Europe
This story is also available in the following languages:  French
The historical knowledge and common culture of our old Europe are indispensable for the understanding of each of its nations. Where does Europe end? Does it stop at the external borders imposed by Yalta in 1945? Does its geographical and cultural space extend from the Atlantic to the Urals, including Russia, as General de Gaulle proclaimed? For Europe, the 19th century was the century of nationalism, the 20th century, with communism and fascism, the century of fracture.
A short fragment of the story

As a child from Lotharingia, I was always attracted, not to say fascinated, by the East beyond the Rhine border. What was there beyond the beautiful Alsace with its half-timbered houses and its inhabitants speaking a Germanic dialect? And beyond this Germany which, in my father's youth, had left in 1944, so many wastelands waiting for the slow post-war reconstruction?

For me, the time of travel came after my adolescence. Beyond Europe, of course, since an "iron curtain" forbade individuals - except those adhering to an ideology that I did not share - to go there as tourists. In 1987, I was welcomed at Bucharest airport by female soldiers armed with Kalashnikovs as we got off the plane, my friends and I made our way to the austere waiting room for twelve hours of interminable and tiring transit.

This was Europe! What I didn't know was that the death knell of this fractured Europe would sound two years later, allowing me to rediscover Romania, its neighbours and more.

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