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East Germany

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NEWS
December 13, 1989 | By Susan Bennett, Inquirer Washington Bureau
Secretary of State James A. Baker 3d made a surprise and historic border crossing into East Germany yesterday to hold the first top-level U.S. discussions with a leader of that state's government. In a day filled with symbolism and showy U.S. support for the democratic reform revolutionizing Eastern Europe, Baker visited the Berlin Wall, delivered a speech outlining U.S. ideas on a restructured Europe and then held separate meetings with East German Premier Hans Modrow and opposition church leaders.
NEWS
March 20, 1990 | By Mike Leary, Inquirer Staff Writer
In their first-ever free elections, East Germany's voters tossed their country on history's scrap heap Sunday. Soon, the bastion of "real, existing socialism" will become nothing more than "a historical footnote," the country's leading novelist, Stefan Heym, said Sunday night. It is no longer a question of who is for or against German reunification, but simply a matter of when and how it will be accomplished after voters delivered an overwhelming victory to a conservative alliance whose simple platform was: Swift reunification with the West and swift replacement of East German money with the West German deutsche mark.
NEWS
July 8, 1990 | By Mike Leary, Inquirer Staff Writer
For a generation, East Germany was literally walled off from the West - with hordes of people dying to get out and very few people getting in. Snarling guard dogs and armed soldiers patrolled a border marked with ugly concrete fences, razor wire and watch towers. Americans and other Westerners could obtain day passes to visit East Berlin after going through a rigorous border check and being forced to exchange 25 Deutsche marks ($14.33) for East German currency. Westerners could venture no farther into the German Democratic Republic without a guaranteed booking at scarce and expensive hotels.
NEWS
April 1, 1990 | By Dan Stets, Inquirer Staff Writer
The doctor paused in conversation to display the baby pictures, the pictures of a newborn who came into the world with feet and hands shaped like the claws of a lobster. "I have seen four children like this in three years," Maria Heinecke said. "I've been a pediatrician for 30 years, but in the first 20 years, I never saw anything like the deformities I've seen here in Pirna in the last 10 years. " Here in Pirna, where the Nazis once murdered 10,000 crippled people for the crime of abnormality, the ugly legacy of the communist industrial complex has come to roost.
NEWS
September 13, 1989
The mass exodus of East German refugees to West Germany via Hungary is much more than a dramatic human-interest story of people grasping at freedom. It is also a warning signal that the Soviet empire is crumbling faster than East or West wants, or is ready for. East Germany is the leader of what one pundit dubbed the Red Rejection Front. These recalcitrant reds - who also include Czechoslovakia, Romania, Cuba and North Korea - oppose Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms and are trying to hold on to the past.
SPORTS
August 26, 1987 | Special to The Inquirer
The U.S. men's heavyweight eight scored an impressive victory over powerful East Germany in the heats of the World Rowing Championships on Lake Bagsvaerd yesterday. Under cloudy skies and aided by a strong tailwind that gusted to 20 m.p.h., the Americans - stroked by Penn graduate John Pescatore - battled the East Germans for most of the 2,000-meter race before pulling ahead for a narrow victory. The U.S. crew finished in 5 minutes and 26.20 seconds, .47 of a second ahead of the East Germans.
SPORTS
August 30, 1986 | Daily News Wire Services
Heike Drechsler, of East Germany, equaled the world record in the women's 200-meter dash with a time of 21.71 seconds yesterday at the European Track and Field Championships yesterday at Stuttgart, West Germany. For the second time this year, Drechsler tied the mark set by her countrywoman, Marita Koch, in 1979. Drechsler clocked 21.71 June 29 in Tallinn in the Soviet Union. Christine Cazier, of France, won the silver medal in 22.32, a national record. Drechsler's gold medal was her second of the competition.
NEWS
November 13, 1989
Lenin supposedly said that the Germans weren't capable of making a revolution because they wouldn't step on the lawn. It seems he was wrong. True, the Germans never fulfilled Karl Marx's dream of the masses rising up in the name of communism. In East Germany, Marx's revolution had to be imposed from above with Soviet bayonets. But there's no mistaking that a genuine popular revolution is threatening to undo East Germany's socialist system. It is those hundreds of thousands of marching feet - demonstrating for democracy in Berlin and Leipzig or heading west toward freedom - that almost certainly have numbered the days of socialist East Germany.
NEWS
November 10, 1989
On Aug. 13, 1961, the East German police began to string barbed wire and erect roadblocks along the edge of the Soviet sector of Berlin. Then came the concrete walls, and the watchtowers, and the armed sentries. And soon the Berlin Wall became the symbol of the ugly division between East and West that couldn't be healed. Checkpoint Charlie. The glaring search lights and guardposts of the Glienicke Bridge, across which the tiny figure of Anatoly Shcharansky paced to freedom. The truck that smashed through the barricades and the bullets with a young East German woman and her child on the floor.
SPORTS
February 17, 1992 | By Jere Longman, INQUIRER OLYMPICS BUREAU
Katarina Witt, who reigned as the world's ice queen through two Olympics, revealed yesterday that she had been asked to spy for the East German secret police. The figure skater also said that even with all the benefits afforded her, she became disillusioned with a system that used sports as a tool to promote communist ideology. She felt tremendous pressure to win a second gold medal at the 1988 Calgary Games, Witt said. "It was much harder," said Witt, who is working at these Games as a commentator for CBS. "I first knew how important the Olympics are. In 1984, it was just another competition.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
November 10, 2014 | By Trudy Rubin, Inquirer Columnist
The 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall is a good time to reflect on the dimming regard for democratic government - at home and abroad. Nov. 9, 1989, the day that East Berliners scaled the wall and embraced their fellow Germans from the West, marked the zenith of global faith in democracy's promise, shortly before the communist empire collapsed. I was lucky enough to witness East Europe's democratic uprisings firsthand. In November 1989, in East Germany, I watched tens of thousands of peaceful demonstrators in Leipzig roar for a united, democratic Germany, in a series of Monday protests that helped seal East Germany's fate.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 12, 2013 | By Jim Rutter, For The Inquirer
Do you like your biographies historically accurate, or delivered with artistic license? Your preference - and judgment - will matter much in how you respond to Doug Wright's I Am My Own Wife , now receiving a sharply performed, thought-provoking production at Theatre Horizon. Wright's one-person play centers on interviews he conducted in 1992-93 with Charlotte von Mahlsdorf (Charlie DelMarcelle), an East German transvestite and antiquarian who ran the Gr├╝nderzeit Museum and provided a haven for gays and lesbians under East German repression.
NEWS
June 17, 2013
By John Rodden D er 17. Juni. Throughout the Cold War, that day - June 17, 1953 - was famous in the German-speaking world, as well known as Dec. 7 or Sept. 11 have become to different generations of Americans. June 17 is a date for Germans that needed no year to identify it: Everyone of a certain age regarded it as a symbol of moral courage and brave dissent. It was a testament to German working-class heroism, a mark of communist treachery and Stalinist tyranny. Sixty Junes ago, the world witnessed the first postwar rebellion - a "workers' uprising" - against communism.
NEWS
June 12, 2013 | By Max Fisher, Washington Post
WASHINGTON - Revelations over U.S. spying programs have raised such outrage in Germany that Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman says she will raise the issue with President Obama when he visits Berlin next week for a trip that was supposed to celebrate 50 years of U.S.-German friendship since John F. Kennedy "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech. Merkel's pledge reflects anger not just among German citizens but government officials as well. The justice minister wrote an op-ed for Der Spiegel's website suggesting that the United States was backsliding on basic freedoms and calling the program so "alarming" that Germany has a responsibility to address it. "The more a society monitors, controls and observes its citizens, the less free it is," she wrote.
NEWS
June 10, 2013
Willi Sitte, 92, one of East Germany's most eminent artists and a key representative of Communism's preferred socialist realism painting style, has died in Berlin. The head of the Willi Sitte Foundation, Hans-Hubert Werner, told news agency DPA that Mr. Sitte died Saturday morning after a long illness. Mr. Sitte's paintings depicted factory workers or farmers as glamorized ideals of Communist heroes. Among his famous works are voluptuous, often nude women. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and Germany's unification, Mr. Sitte was seen in a more controversial light because of his closeness to the Communist regime.
NEWS
April 22, 2013 | By Jonathan Steinberg
The "German Problem" has returned. Cartoons of Angela Merkel in Nazi uniform appear at anti-austerity demonstrations from Dublin to Málaga. Once again, a German chancellor decides on the economic future of the largest economy in the world. Just as the Germany that Bismarck, the Iron Chancellor, first unified in 1870 dominated the Europe of its time, so, too, the unified Germany of today under the "Gray Mouse" dominates the European Union. The two chancellors held office nearly a century and a half apart.
NEWS
April 14, 2013 | By Kirsten Grieshaber and Robert H. Reid, Associated Press
BERLIN - For nearly 30 years, the Berlin Wall was the hated symbol of the division of Europe, a gray, concrete mass that snaked through neighborhoods, separating families and friends. One morning last month, it took hundreds of police to guarantee the safe removal of 15 feet of what's left of the wall. Construction crews, protected by about 250 police, hauled down part of the three-quarter-mile strip of the wall to provide access to a planned luxury apartment complex overlooking the Spree River.
BUSINESS
November 14, 2012 | By Frank Jordans, Associated Press
BERLIN - Ikea will release a report this week addressing claims that it benefited from forced labor in the former communist East Germany, the company and victims groups said Monday. The report by independent auditors Ernst & Young looks into allegations that Ikea, whose U.S. headquarters is in Conshohocken, used East German suppliers who employed prisoners - some of them political dissidents - to manufacture goods for its stores from the 1960s to 1980s. "We hope this will be a first step toward a broader investigation into the use of forced labor in East Germany," Rainer Wagner, chairman of the victims' group UOKG, told the Associated Press.
NEWS
September 5, 2012
Kurt Maetzig, 101, a pioneering figure in East Germany's socialist film industry after World War II who became one of the country's most respected directors, not least for compelling Germans to acknowledge their Nazi past, died Aug. 8 at his home in Germany. News organizations said he died in the village of Wildkuhl in the former East German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. He was a founder of East Germany's main film studio at the close of World War II, and in a three-decade career he directed about 30 feature films and documentaries.
SPORTS
July 30, 2012 | By Elliott Denman, For The Inquirer
ETON, England - Don't ever try to pull a fast one on Susan Francia. She'll track you down and, likely, have you prosecuted to the full extent of the law. A criminology major in her years at Penn (Class of 2004), Francia, from Abington High School, is busy doing another kind of tracking at the Olympic Games. Rowing the No. 2 oar on the U.S. women's eight-oared crew, she and her teammates are hot on the trail of a second consecutive gold-medal performance. An impressive, open-water 6-minute, 14.68-second victory over Australia (6:20.89)
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