Berlin, February 1979

In continuation of the Nablopomo last November, I will write down the second part of the journey in my life. We had to make the decision to leave Iran in 1979. That is where I ended my blog post.

On February 2nd, 1979, our families and friends were gathered at my in-law's home for a farewell
dinner, watching the news on TV. The Air France had landed at Mehrabad Airport, carrying the Ayatolla Khomeini and his minions from Paris to Tehran. We watched him get off the plane and there was silence in the room. What will the future be like in Iran, with this old, manic, vengeful religious leader taking over? Not good, was our common opinion.
My husband and I had packed our stuff and we were ready to leave the next day. It was with a heavy heart and trepidation that I took this journey. I was 21, my husband 26. I had never lived in Germany, and my husband had never even visited any other foreign country, or spoken a foreign language. I was scared to death. Couldn't we stay in Tehran? This was our home. We had good jobs. I would be prepared to wear the Hejab. I did not want to leave our families, our friends, those who would stay behind. Many had already left before us. My brother-in-law was in Los Angeles, my best friend had moved to San Francisco, another to Liverpool, UK. So many scattered around the world, well mostly in the US. My parents and my 15 year old sister were not leaving yet. Mind you, as alien residents (German) the safety of foreigners was not guaranteed. Our German school had closed down and held limited classes at the German embassy. Would they be safe?
We were so lucky to have two different tickets in our hands. I had been able to book us on Lufthansa, the company I had worked for in Tehran and we also had a set of tickets with Iran Air, the company both of our father's worked for.
As we arrived at the airport in the early morning hours on February 3rd, the terminal was packed with people all wanting to leave the country. And no regular flights were leaving. We fought our way to the Lufthansa counter and I recognized a former co-worker. She said the only flight leaving was the Air France that had arrived the day before and she would put us on it. My dad had given us a ride and waited to make sure we would get on a plane and if needed to pull strings with his co-workers. He even gave a short interview to a German TV crew, one of many international stations reporting on the frenzy of the exodus. We were a few of the lucky ones to make it out on the last plane leaving as the airport was closed down after that day. We had to walk on the tarmac up to the Air France and step up a metal ladder, no portable staircase was available. Probably the ground crew was on strike. We got into our seats and were off to Istanbul. I think I cried the whole way. We re-fueled and then were back in the air to Paris. I do not recall at which airport we landed, Orly or Charles de Gaulle.  Anyway, we needed to transfer to the other airport for our flight to Berlin. My school french did not help much and we were greeted with the first unfriendly encounter in Europe.
Late in the evening we landed in Berlin-Tempelhof and took a cab to my grandmother's place. And the second chapter of our life began.

I found these pictures in our photo album. Both of us on the escalator at CDG airport. The tower on the right is Istanbul airport, I think.
All photos of this chapter may be a bit blurry as the pictures in the albums are fading too.



No comments:

Post a Comment