Posted: 24 Oct 2009 Print Send a link
"In 1954, a carrier pigeon named Lena was participating in a race between two German towns. While flying from Nuremberg to her home loft in a West German village, Lena got lost and ended up landing in the town of Pilsen in communist Czechoslovakia, where she was discovered by a Czech pigeon enthusiast. The unnamed man recognized Lena's German leg band and decided to send his own message - to Radio Free Europe (RFE) in Munich: "We plead with you not to slow down in the fight against Communist aggression, because Communism must be destroyed. We beg for a speedy liberation from the power of the Kremlin and the establishment of a United States of Europe. We always listen to your broadcasts. They present a completely true picture of life behind the Iron Curtain. We would like you to tell us how we can combat Bolshevism and the tyrannical dictatorship existing here. We are taking every opportunity to work against the regime and do everything in our power to sabotage it.' ... Known as 'The Pigeon Who Crashed the Iron Curtain,' or simply 'Leaping Lena," her celebrity status resulted in Lena's selection as the model for the emblem of the 1955 Crusade for Freedom campaign." Alex Mayer, Off Mic blog, RFE/RL, 23 October 2009. I hope this great story is true. However, given that the Crusade for Freedom was a ruse to make people think that Radio Free Europe was funded by donations rather than by the CIA, and given the conveniently perfect phraseology of the message, some good historians should look into this.