“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

Walled-In

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. • READ MOREDOWNLOAD A FREE EXCERPT

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. READ MORE

Living History with J. Elke Ertle on YouTube

J. Elke Ertle shared her eye witness recollections of President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 Berlin visit in a conversation with Stephen Fagin, Associate Curator, Sixth Floor Museum at Daley Plaza, Dallas Texas. The Museum’s Living History Series recognizes Kennedy’s life, assassination and legacy.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lCh0uFDtm4

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Werner von Siemens – self-made man

18/09/2014   |   No Comments »

Ernst Werner Siemens, German industrialist, researcher and inventor, was a self-made man. Having been born in 1816 as the fourth of 14 children in a tenant farmer family precluded a pursuit of extensive higher education. But this disadvantage did not keep Siemens from turning his dreams into reality. Today’s Siemens AG is the largest engineering- and electronics company in Europe. The company offers products and services relative to construction, energy, lighting, transportation, logistics and medicine. The firm’s corporate headquarters is located in Munich. Siemens AG has operations in close to 190 countries and owns approximately 285 production and manufacturing facilities. Werner von Siemens passed away in 1892.

Werner von Siemens in 1872

Werner von Siemens in 1872

Werner von Siemens – industrialist and inventor

To become an engineer, Siemens needed an education. To that end he joined the Prussian army and soon had acquired sufficient knowledge to greatly improve the army’s communication system by constructing a point telegraph that was far superior to anything the army had used before. Even before Siemens left the army at the age of 31, he had formed a partnership with master mechanic Johann Georg Halske. In 1848, one year before Siemens left the army, the Siemens & Halske Telegraph Construction Company built the first long-distance telegraph line in Europe. It covered 310 miles from Berlin to Frankfurt am Main. Thereafter, business opportunities multiplied. Two years later, he had his younger brother, Carl Wilhelm Siemens, open a branch office in London, England. In 1855, another brother, Carl Heinrich Siemens, opened a company branch in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1867, the company completed the Indo-European telegraph line from Calcutta to London. Because of his many achievements, German Emperor Friedrich III raised Werner Siemens to nobility in 1888. He was henceforth known as Werner von Siemens.

Siemens – researcher

Werner von Siemens also pursued intensive scientific research. In 1866 he made what was probably his most important contribution to electrical engineering when he reported the discovery of the dynamo-electric principle in a report to the Berlin Academy of Sciences www.siemens.com. In 1879 the first electric railway was presented at the Berlin Trade Fair and the first electric streetlights were installed in Berlin’s Kaisergalerie. In 1880 the first electric elevator was built in Mannheim, and in 1881 the world’s first electric streetcar went into service in Berlin-Lichterfelde.

Siemens – social reformer

Werner von Siemens was also far ahead of his time with numerous social initiatives. In 1866, he first issued an inventory premium. It was the forerunner of today’s profit sharing plans. Six years later, von Siemens introduced a company pension plan, which included a widows and orphans fund for surviving dependents. When asked why he invested so much in his employees, he replied that it reinforced employees’ loyalty to the company and, therefore, should be considered a “healthy self interest.”

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Arrogance versus Humility

15/09/2014   |   No Comments »

If arrogance is the heady wine of youth, then humility must be its eternal hangover.

–Helen Van Slyke

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