“A unique parallel between a young girl’s life in an uncompromising family and the tensions mounting on both sides of the Berlin Wall as she ﬁnds a way to freedom.
A remarkable journey.”
—Zohreh Ghahremani, Author of Sky of Red Poppies
In her memoir, Walled-In, J. Elke Ertle shares what it was like to grow up in West Berlin, Germany, during the aftermath of World War II, a time when the city was divided into American, British, French, and Soviet occupation sectors. Initially, forty percent of all structures in the city were destroyed. There was little food or shelter. Many died, but Elke’s family survives.
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About the author, J. Elke Ertle
J. Elke Ertle was born and raised in West Berlin following World War II, a time when the city was the focus of an escalating Cold War between East and West. During the first twenty-one years of her life, she lived with her mother and father in the British sector of the city and was known by her first name, Jutta.
11/12/2013 | No Comments »
Hitler and Roosevelt: a dictator and a democrat. What do the two men have in common? Both came to power in the beginning of 1933. Both died in April 1945. But that’s where the parallels end. One led Western Europe to the brink of destruction, the other returned it to the path to freedom.
72 years ago today, on 11 December 1941, the German Empire declared war on the USA. To this day, historians speculate what made Hitler declare war on America. Four days earlier, Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor. The following day, the US Senate and House of Representatives declared war on Japan. It could not be known at the time that what happened in Pearl Harbor would change what was going to happen in Western Europe.
Americans oppose US intervention
Until Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had secretly debated how to depose Adolf Hitler. But the majority of Americans wanted the US remain neutral in the European war. After Kristallnacht – Night of Broken Glass - in November of 1938, Hitler’s invasion of the Czech Republic and of Poland, public opinion began to change although the majority of Americans still opposed US intervention. And following the attack on Pearl Harbor the eyes of the American public were directed toward Japan.
Hitler is delighted
At the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, German troops were stuck in the snow in front of Moscow. The Red Army had begun a powerful offensive. The news of Pearl Harbor caught Hitler by surprise, but he saw an opportunity. He suspected that the U.S. would now focus all of their armament and military power against Japan and reduce or eliminate their support for the United Kingdom. If he employed his submarines, he may win against England.
The historian, Alan Bullock, suspects that Hitler felt he had to demonstrate after the defeat of his troops in the east. Sebastian Haffner called it a simple act of madness. Hitler biographer, Ian Kershaw, says “It was in Hitler’s eyes the chance to win against England.” Together with Japan, Hitler hoped to not only control the European continent, but to also bring the US to its knees. In his 2011 book, Roosevelt and Hitler: Todfeindschaft und Totaler Krieg, Washington historian, Ronald D. Barley, surmises, “as paradoxical as it sounds the fact that Hitler declared war on the US on December 11, 1941, forged the path to freedom for Western Europe.” For additional information, visit www.zeit.de (Zweiter Weltkrieg: Krieg gegen America)
09/12/2013 | No Comments »
“As we grow in maturity and wisdom, we learn that although we cannot choose what life will deliver to us we can choose how we will respond. As we begin to live our lives more consciously – going back and sifting through the events that helped shape our lives, examining how and why different emotions are triggered in our hearts – we can begin to build an entirely new framework for who we want to be, instead of simply accepting who we ended up being. Through this deep understanding of the events that have influenced our lives, of the values we hold most dear, and of the things we need to be happy, we can begin the exciting process of taking control of our lives. From that solid foundation, we can act freely and fearlessly, knowing that our actions will reflect our being out in the world.”
– From the editors of Random Acts of Kindness