“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 finds 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.

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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.

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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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Glienicker Bruecke – Bridge of Spies

26/11/2014   |   No Comments »

Glienicker Bruecke (Glienicke Bridge) is located in Germany and connects Brandenburg’s capital Potsdam to Berlin’s Wannsee district. Since the division of Berlin, the border between Soviet-occupied East Berlin and the US-occupied western sector of Berlin ran right through the center of the bridge. For this reason, the Western Allies and the Soviets used Glienicke Bridge during the Cold War years to exchange captured spies.

Glienicker Bruecke – History

Today’s Glienicker Bruecke, is the fourth bridge that spans the Havel River in this site. The first bridge was build around 1660 and was made of wood. In order to accommodate increased traffic between Berlin and the Emperor’s new castle in Potsdam, the wooden bridge was replaced with a brick and wood drawbridge in the first quarter of the 19th century. At the beginning of the 20th century, the drawbridge no longer met the needs of the populace and was replaced with an iron bridge. But at the end of World War II, in April 1945, an unexploded shell severely damaged Glienicke Bridge. Reconstruction was completed in 1949 and the East German government renamed it “Bridge of Unity” because of the close proximity of East and West.

During the Cold War years, East German authorities closed the bridge to the people of West Berlin and West Germany in 1952 and also to East German citizens in 1961, when the Berlin Wall was constructed. Soon, Glienicker Bruecke became a favored point of exchange of secret agents between East and West. By the 1970s, the bridge needed significant repairs. West Berlin repaired its half of the repairs to the bridge in 1980 and for the work on the East German half of the structure in 1985. The deal included a provision that the East German authorities would rename the bridge “Glienicker Bruecke” once again. One day after the opening of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the bridge also reopened to pedestrians.

1960 - Tourists standing on the western side of the Glienicker Bruecke (copyright J. E. Ertle)

1960 – Tourists standing on the western side of the Glienicker Bruecke (copyright J. E. Ertle)

Glienicker Bruecke – Bridge of Spies

During the Cold War, Glienicker Bruecke became the site of three well-known East/West spy exchanges, which resulted it the name “Bridge of Spies.”

1962 – The US exchanges Soviet Intelligence officer Rudolf Abel for American pilot Francis Gary Powers whose U-2 spy plane was shot down while flying a reconnaissance mission over Soviet Union airspace.

1964 – The British exchanges Soviet intelligence officer Konon Molody for British spy Greville Wynne.

1986 – The US exchanges Czech spies Karl and Hana Koecher, Soviet spy Yevgeni Zemlyakov, Polish spy Marian Zacharski and East German spy Detlef Scharfenorth for human rights campaigner Anatoly Sharansky and three low-level Western spies. http://www.planet-wissen.de/politik_geschichte/ddr/geteilte_stadt_berlin/agententausch.jsp

 

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Age is a work of art

24/11/2014   |   No Comments »

Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.

Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

 

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