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I was a late birth. Three weeks late.

Had I been in time, I would have first seen the light of the day on june 26, 1963.

"Ich bin ein Berliner" (= I am a Berliner), would have been my first words, but somebody else beat me to this. His name was John F. and he actually came from America. So he wasn't a real Berliner, but he wanted to boast - about that and also about his Latin.

He gave a speech on this 26th of june and to quite a few real Berliners he said:

"Two thousand years ago the proudest boast was 'Civis Romanus sum'. today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is 'Ich bin ein Berliner.'"

He actually was quite successful. The people liked the speech. So I preferred not to copy him and I shut up for a while.

Very nearly it could have been "I am a Stuttgarter" for me, as my parents were living there when they got married.

But then the GDR inadvertently erected a wall in the midst of Berlin. I am using "inadvertently" here, because up to then noone in the GDR had the intention of errecting a wall. At least that's what they said. However, "shit happens" and thus, most East-Germans couldn't move to the west anymore.

In spite of the GDR being the better German state, many East Berliners were tempted and turned their backs on their socialist paradise.

On the other side, many West Berliners didn't sleep well anymore, for fear the GDR and its big brother could inadvertently march into West Berlin.

So: While many "Ossis" - as Germans from the GDR later got used to be called - fled to West-Berlin, many "Wessis" left West-Berlin to settle in communist-safe West-Germany.

But who would care for the Ossis in West-Berlin? My father would. As a man of the church he at that time already had a social bent and so he hurried to West-Berlin few weeks after the erection of the Wall only. He first served as a priest in the refugee camp of Berlin Marienfelde, later in the parish of Berlin Spandau.

And as the number of West-Berliners steadily decreased, my parents did everything to make new ones.

That's why I am a Berliner.

It doesn't explain however why I don't like "Berliners", as doughnuts are called in Germany. Those Berliners are filled with jam and covered with sugar. Were they covered with chocolate and filled with marzipan, I'd definitely like them more.

Berliner Mauer - Potsdamer Platz 1961 - Hotel Vaterland
Potsdamer Platz in 1961
photo taken by my parents

Berliner Mauer - Potsdamer Platz 1961
Potsdamer Platz in 1961