President Barack Obama to visit Berlin

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will end a three-day trip to Europe trip with a visit to Berlin next month. Following a summit in Northern Ireland, the president is scheduled to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss bilateral global questions. Prior to his 2008 election, President Obama held a major campaign rally in Berlin, which drew an enthusiastic crowd of more than 200,000. A Democratic presidential candidate at the time, Mr. Obama had hoped to speak in front of Berlin’s historic Brandenburg Gate. But Chancellor Merkel would not have it. She maintained that this privilege was reserved for presidents. Mr. Obama ended up speaking at the nearby victory column.

According to the White House, President Obama’s visit will come one week before the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s unforgettable “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech. Fifty years, ago, on June 26, 1963, I too, stood in the crowd of 450,000 who had gathered in front of Schoeneberger Rathaus, Berlin’s city hall, to hear John F. Kennedy speak. It was during the height of the Cold War when Mr. Kennedy pledged solidarity with West Berlin. When he said, “As a free man, I take pride in the words ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’,” we interpreted his words to mean that America would not sell us out to the Russians.

I recently wrote a book, entitled “Walled-In: A West Berlin Girl’s Journey to Freedom.” In it I describe what it was like to grow up in West Berlin during the time when the city was still divided into the capitalist west and the communist east.


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 Walled-In is a story of growing up in Berlin during the Cold War.




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