“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

J. Elke Ertle read from her book, “Walled-In: A West Berlin Girl’s Journey to Freedom.” It is the story of how she learned English, entitled, “English according to Herr Kraschinkski.”

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIG8iroo4_mio5N8XFdwuyg

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Schnaps versus schnapps

08/02/2016   |   No Comments »

Do you know the difference between German “Schnaps” and American “schnapps?” It isn’t just an additional “p.” German Schnaps (or “eau de vie” in French) is generally an 80-100 proof clear, unsweetened fruit brandy distilled from fermented fruits. No sugar is added, and the fruit flavor is extremely light. Schnaps is usually made from apples, pears, plums, apricots or cherries.

American schnapps, on the other hand, is generally a 30-100 proof liqueur, produced by mixing fruit with already fermented and distilled alcohol. Sugar and glycerin are then added, and the resulting syrupy product is also known as liqueur.

Schnaps: My Secret Ingredient

To tell you the truth, I have never cared for the taste of Schnaps. Whether served before dinner as an apéritif or after dinner is a digestif, it is not sweet enough for me. I prefer a liqueur. But I love what Schnaps does for my Black Forest Cherry Cake (Schwarzwaelder Kirschtorte). The cake is named after the Schnaps that was first distilled in the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) in southwestern Germany, not the other way around. http://tastings.com/spirits/brandy.html This particular Schnaps is aptly called Kirschwasser (cherry water), or simply Kirsch. The clear, colorless fruit brandy is made from tart cherries, including pits. The cherry pits give the Black Forest Cherry Cake its unique flavor. I understand that it takes about 22 pounds of cherries to make just one 750 ml bottle (about 25 ounces) of Kirschwasser.

Kirschwasser - a Schnaps that defines my Black Forest Cherry Cake, photo © J. Elke Ertle, 2015

Kirschwasser – a Schnaps that defines my Black Forest Cherry Cake, photo © J. Elke Ertle, 2015

First documented in 1934 in Berlin, Germany, Black Forest Cherry Cake consists of layers of chocolate cake, whipped cream and tart cherries. But it would not taste the same without the secret ingredient – you guessed it – an infusion of Kirschwasser. I either soak the cherries overnight in the Schnaps or sprinkle the Kirschwasser directly onto each cake layer. I always end with cherries atop the cake, dotted with shaved dark chocolate. Give it a try!

 

For a sneak peek at the first 20+ pages of my memoir, Walled-In: A West Berlin Girl’s Journey to Freedom, click “Download a free excerpt” on the home page of http://www.walled-in-berlin.com. Walled-In is a story of growing up in Berlin during the Cold War.

 

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Do you have a superiority complex?

04/02/2016   |   No Comments »

It is common knowledge among psychologists that most of us underrate ourselves, short-change ourselves, sell ourselves short. Actually, there is no such thing as a superiority complex. People who seem to have one are actually suffering from feelings of inferiority; their “superior” self is a fiction, a cover-up, to hide from themselves and others their deep-down feelings of inferiority and insecurity.

–Maxwell Maltz

 

For a sneak peek at the first 20+ pages of my memoir, Walled-In: A West Berlin Girl’s Journey to Freedom, click “Download a free excerpt” on the home page of http://www.walled-in-berlin.com

 

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