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Radio GDR - East Germany Podcast

May 20, 2021

This episode of Radio GDR, the East Germany podcast, lives up to Paul Harvey's famous expression, "and now you know the rest of the story."

In episode 24, Shane Whaley interviewed Eric Friedman who, as a 10-year old boy in 1988, accompanied his mother Celeste Barber, a teacher in the English Department at Santa Barbara City College in California, and stepfather Frank McConnell on a Fulbright grant-sponsored tour as an English teacher at Humboldt University in East Berlin.

Eric and Celeste co-authored the book Ghosts of East Berlin, a must-read personal account of their time behind the Berlin Wall. In this episode, you'll learn how Celeste and her family ended up in East Berlin, how she met her dear friend Adelheid, who lived with a view of the wall from her apartment, and how the family coped with living in what Celeste calls "No Mans Land."

While she experienced challenges and even some scary moments with the Stasi, the GDR's secret police, Celeste nonetheless had some very human moments via her friend Adelheid, Frank's students and even a Russian woman on the street car. Not everything behind the Berlin Wall was as gray as expected.