Cold War Memories: A Retrospective on Living in Berlin, A City Divided– Memoirs of U.S. Dependents in BerlinPosted: February 14, 2015
“These are our stories…the stories of six ‘generations’ of Berlin Brats over a span of almost fifty years. This book is written, as are most histories, in an effort to hold onto a piece of history long past. And, it is a warning lest we forget how precious freedom is– freedom is not free. Additionally, we are aware that few people realize that Americans lived in West Berlin, and that fewer still realize that the whole city was over 100 miles inside of Soviet occupied territory. Thus, we lived in an enclave of Capitalism surrounded by Communist East Germany.” [excerpted from the Introduction to Cold War Memories]
Trisha and I spent four years collecting stories via mail, email, websites and social media. We interviewed former students and teachers at reunions and brat gatherings. At times it was like pulling teeth, but we finally collected enough stories to go forward with publishing the book in time for our goal deadline– the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Wall celebration in Berlin! Our alumni association- the Berlin Brats Alumni Association, had planned their reunion to coincide with the Fall of the Wall celebration in early November 2014. Our book was published on October 20th, just in time to order a batch to bring to the reunion in Berlin. It was the perfect place to launch our book– against the backdrop of our beloved city, formerly captive, now free.
Cold War Memories is an informative and entertaining history of what life was like in Berlin for US dependents, their teachers and their families from 1946 until 1994. There are first-hand accounts covering the Berlin Air Lift (Col. Gail Halvorsen himself wrote the epilogue), the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, JFK’s visit to Berlin, Ronald Reagan’s visits to the Walled City, the 1986 bombing of the La Belle discotheque, close encounters in Communist East Berlin and much more! These are our stories–some will make you laugh, some will make you cry. Many will intrigue and surprise you. Ten of our stories were written by former faculty, providing a unique insight into life in Cold War Berlin from a teacher’s perspective. Some of our favorite stories are the heart-warming tales of the positive impact that DoDDS educators had on so many of us Berlin Brats.
“Teachers have an important role in our society as they help shape our children, who in turn, shape our future. When famous actors accept their Oscars, some have often thanked their teachers..or, showed the teacher who doubted them, that they really could be successful. In my case, whether it was Leonard, Sullivan, or Moreno, I learned skills that I still use today. That’s a sign of great teaching. Although Mr. Leonard and Mr. Sullivan are now gone, their legacy still lives in their students.” (pg. 253)
If you would like to purchase a copy of our book (510 pages), it is available at Amazon.com or at our e-store ( https://www.createspace.com/4863523 ). One dollar of every book purchased through our e-store will be donated to the Berlin Brats Alumni Association Scholarship Fund (please be aware that the Createspace website will require you to fill out a couple of pages in order to place your order). We know you will enjoy this wonderful compilation of the stories of brats and their teachers!
by: Yoshika (Loftin) Lowe ’83