Reaching Out

The two Germanys nurture ties

Ingrid Berg was no ordinary East German, and she did not flee the country like one. With her husband, mother-in-law and two children, 3 and 7, Berg drove the family Volvo to Czechoslovakia, the only foreign country that East Germans can visit without an exit permit. In Prague they headed for the West German embassy, claimed refuge and demanded asylum in the Federal Republic. Then Berg revealed her identity: she was, she said, the niece of East German Premier Willi Stoph, the second most important man in the Communist hierarchy.

The East German government quickly declared that Stoph...

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