Fifty-Seven years ago today is a day that lives in infamy in the history of mankind.  On that day, East Germany erected the Berlin Wall, essentially incarcerating a whole nation within its own borders.  Given my personal history, it is a poignant coincidence that on that very day my family was denied access to Berlin (the scene is described in detail in my book).

Some people are drawing parallels to the wall President Trump wants to erect on our southern border.  Without jumping head first into the political fray and discussing the merits of the various opinions on immigration (I am neither pro Trump nor anti Trump – I am pro United States), there are NO PARALLELS.  If there are lines to be drawn here, they meet at a right angle.  The Berlin Wall was built to keep people in, the proposed southern wall is meant to keep people out.  There is no better historic argument about the relative attractiveness of the two competing social constructs (capitalisms vs. socialism) to human beings.

In the picture I included, the young lady climbing the wall may well be aware that there is something precious, almost magical on the other side.  We like to call that precious magical thing freedom.  If that wall was to our south, a young lady on the other side might long for the economic security over here.  We still have both!!!

The internal political bickering that our country is currently engaged in puts us in danger of blinding us to the fact that what we have here is so attractive to outsiders that they are willing to risk life and limb to come to the US.  Think about this for a moment!  Is what we have not worth defending with all our might, rather that eroding its foundation from within???


  1. Jack, there are always two sides to a story as we know. I raised my eyebrows when I read that section of your book. That your father (and some other East Germans) were supportive of the wall going up. I had never thought of that as I bought into all the stories of East Germans being appalled by it.

    Hindsight is a great thing and we all know building walls is wrong but it is very easy for us in 2017 to judge what was happening in 1961 without actually living through it.

    • There were a lot of East Germans who were 100 percent in support of the Wall – me too. With regard to the perception that this is not true – another case where the victor (West Germany) writes the history. My friend Gunther who was a mid level Stasi officer, says that the only unbiased view of the Stasi he has ever read was written by an Americawn.

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