tv Forty Autumns CSPAN December 11, 2016 11:00pm-11:47pm EST
marital difficulties and is smitten so when gretchen hit was not sure but the allegations that hit three women came forwardoy anonymously then i knew i had the decision to make. ultimately the company said they would conduct the internal review then somebody said roger was hoping their view only to those that worked with gretchen and i knew what not me, ld mean. honor your tolerance not be or might render the otherer women from "the daily beast." so i right in the book however looked at this
picture of my five year-old and she is on top of the jungle gym with the blond hair and her sneakers she had fallen off the monkey bars one week earlier cracked her head ( gotten switchers issue is backed up -- stitches but was back up there and honestly i said this will not have been to one more women now fox news ever. [applause] and that is what i picked up the phone and say called rupert murdoch in said get general counsel on the phone that i told him what happened to me 10 years earlier the good and thatt bad provided not want them to think he was a monster
[laughter] >> even if you looked exactly as gorgeous as you do this evening -- >> to the haters that would look at us with our false eyelashes and cute dresses and say you asked for it -- [applause] >> this is one of the few uplifting parts of long exhausting campaigns is after the stories came out in these access hollywood stories she wh. said please write if you have had instances of sexual harassment in the course of your life. tens of thousands of women wrote
to her and that is a conversation that needed to be d had. >> my story got a lot of attention because i'd just written a book. the unsung heroes of the episode are the women of fox news who don't have a primetime show and who had great risk to themselves because no one thought he was going to get fired down to the n nerve to when they started that investigation and told their story be leaving he would continue beating their boss. those are the courageous ones. >> we could just carry on. "settle for more" everyone knows you are in a contract year and
you've written this book that the number one seller. congratulations, that's wonderful. [applause] >> what is the more that you want now? >> for me, it's pretty clear. i am doing a job i love, but there's something i love more. three little people and a big person. [laughter] doug and i are good because he's a writer. he writes books for a living. he has a flexible work schedule and we can see each other. i am pretty open about this in "settle for more," as i am missing too much of my children's childhood. they were just barely 4-years-old and basically age
three, two and newborn. i had the whole day and then i would go to work at 330 or four4 and go to work at night. now they are aging and they are seven, five and three. last? out two out of three g the threo school at a:15 and don't get home until 3:30 until i'm walking out the door and that is not acceptable to me. that is not more. they mean too much to me.to muc. i refuse to miss their childhood just so i can do a job that i love. so i am not breaking news. i said this to my employers and they know tha that so that is te challenge of going t writing tho do. can i find a ath way to work wiy schedule or should i continue to do the file and see my children and if the answer to that is no
hello, everyone. i think that we are ready to get started. welcome to politics and prose. i am a manager here at the bookstore. a few housekeeping notes before we get to the good stuff if you could silence your cell phones so that we can be in the moment and present. because we are filming with booktv if you could use the microphone right here is the only way to capture the sound for the audience, so don't raise your hand, definitely go to the microphone. it helps a lot. we have 500 authors, so if you enjoy this event you should check out our calendars or on the website to see what else is coming. we had events going through december 8. i'm excited to welcome nina to politics and prose who served in the worl world war iii platformn the book i will let her tell you about and has since been worked
in russia and eastern europe promoting children's causes him to the rule of law for the u.s. government nonprofit organizations and a variety of charities. she takes a sweeping look at the political history of a divided germany through the lens of her own family history. telling the story of the generations of the women she paints a chilling picture in the regime. "the chicago tribune" wrote that it is a powerful addition to the genre charging the twists and turns of the communist east germany over more than four decades it shows how the current suppression and reform affected individual lives. please join me in welcoming nina willner. [applause] >> thank you, emily, politics and prose, and thank you all for joining me today for what is essentially my book launch. i appreciate you taking the time
out -- >> we can't hear you. >> is the microphone on? [inaudible] okay. i can speak up. i think that's it. so again, thank you all for being here today to share this day that marks a culmination of quite a journey for me. before i get started, i would like to mention a few people with us today. general congress and who among other postings in his remarkable career as a commander of berlin in the 1980s when i was posted to berlin. friends and colleagues who are here today and one of the leading scholars on east germany and the cold war and i'm honored that she agreed to be the historian for my project. my family including my mother
who at the age of 20 escape east germany and ra and grand freedom eventually coming to america. and without her courage i wouldn't be here telling you the story today. so, "forty autumns," what is the book about. "forty autumns" is about what happened to my family during the cold war, from my mother's escape fro from used communist germany to the family she left behind, large family, father, mother, eight siblings. my going into east germany as a young american leading intelligence operations of the soviet territory in east berlin. so it is set within the bigger picture, the bigger framework of the bigger picture cold war war stories with the clash of the soviet american superpower struggle for dominance and the nuclear arms race. and in conflicts and reached around the world at the time on the brink of nuclear war.
and within that story is my family forcibly separated for 40 years, never knowing if they would see each other again. so, i would like to start off with a little bit of background by putting us on the map. i don't have a math today, that there are maps on the book. at the end of world war ii, 194510 of the soviet and western allies, americans, british, canadian and french have defeated the nazis and are making their way throughout germany to liberate the country. the americans were the first to arrive in a tiny village where my mother a teenager at the time, her parents and her siblings lived. the americans stayed for a short while but then explained to the villager the country has been divided. they would be separated into the east by the soviets. the american sergeant tells the
villagers falls on the east. the americans explained that they could take one or two villagers with them to the west, but no one in the village wants to break up their family. but then my grandmother hearing stories that the soviets are raping women as they make their way into the country forces her oldest daughter, my mother was 17-years-old at this point to leave with the americans who are headed westward. several miles down the road, she catapults resolve over the side of the truck and goes running back home to her family. and the next day the soviets arrived. so, germany is essentially divided into two halves, the western allies take control. deep inside east germany of the 110 miles inside east germany is berlin which just like germany itself is divided into two halves.
it's a tiny island of democracy and freedom completely encircled by the communist territory. the east becomes a state based on the communist authoritarianism, the one-party communist dictatorship based on bottled by the soviet union and for state security. it basically forces the population into submission through fear and intimidation. on the other side, it is ministered by the nato allies and it is based on democracy and freedom. as they begin to develop the west, the soviets struck the east. everything from railroad tracks to the farm machinery, entire cities and towns, full factors to be victories are disassembled.
food is to be turned in and of divided equally among the people which is either slow to happen or doesn't happen at all. they confiscate private land, private property, and the soviets and the communists oppose the rules that essentially amounts to conform. words against the regime are not enough to have anyone interrogated or imprisoned so my mother's village the occupiers of iraq telling them they come as friends and brothers to help build the new germany but they follow that to be relinquished and anyone found hoarding food with the shop. anyone that attacks a soviet soldier would be shocked and so on. so intense propaganda campaign
in zoos. it takes over society initially outlawing religion, censoring media and all forms of information even trying to broadcast their signals coming from the west. i would like to share with you a little vignette that helps illustrate the kind of things that were happening at this time in east germany. so at this point, my mother lived for a short time now in the border town of west germany's east and west which were grandfathered. so because it was a border town, they were often afraid that it would be easy for people to make a break so they kept a close eye and curfews were enforced. it started well before sundown
and ended after dawn. the punishments are not just those that attempted to flee but also those suspected of having knowledge and the escape that failed to report it. words against the regime were sent to the local makeshift headquarters a converted stable. it took some longer than others to get the message. one day at school the students in the back of the classroom during a break unlikable but sometimes miss dvds that have a tendency to talk too much went a step too far. how can they teach us this. can you believe it, two years ago this same teacher was same g that he was a great demand, he said. as the other bo other boys fougd snickered, he looked up to see
the school's communist party staring at him with a glare. he approached and hold them out of class and he wasn't seen again. so tens of thousands of people were sent to jail and hundreds would be executed. while many were able to flee in the first five years it becomes harder and the border guards were given orders to shoot to kill. so while food is coming into west germany, in the east, people go hungry. my mother tells a story of being sent to work in the field pulling carrots and being so hungry but she doesn't even eat a single tear for fear someone will see her eating unauthorized food and she will be shot. two teenage girls set out a
cardboard sign, please give us food. not the image they want for trade. they hold the girls off to prison and i know this story from having interviewed one of the girls that served a year and a half in jail in that sense. and schwan berg, my father is a village teacher who is now required to teach soviet doctrine, marxist theory and even the russian language which she learned o the night before teaching at the next day. my grandmother, trying to cope and urging her children to lay low follow the rules, and not attract undue attention. the children joined the young pioneers and her closest sibling, her older brother signs up to be a teacher in the communist system, but she sees what's going on all around her and has no intention of conforming. so almost all connections between east and west are severed and there is a connection between east and west.
inside she sees things were getting tired so she raises the concerns to her grandfather. he takes her out and shows her the lines going that have been pulled up and are gone. he tells her if you want to get out, do it soon in less than a year this place will be one big prison. she then makes several attempted escapes want once with her grandfather's health, once where she i has a shot at by a soviet soldier. twice dragged back into the east and a third time, she makes it. it is this escape that sets the motion to the story the journey that would launch her to the next 40 years through the cold war. so, over the next 40 years we learned very littllearn very lie family in the east and able to exchange a few letters, though
we knew very little about what was happening in their lives, the most that we actually knew at all was east germany was an inclusive police states that have an appalling human rights record and imprisoned citizens. in schaumburg, my principled man with a short fuse can't help speak up when he sees injustices all around him. he even writes a letter to the east german leader speaking on behalf of the farmers to suggest a compromise between the new walls of collecting and what do partners want, which is to keep some of their land. well, that didn't go over too well so now besides being the father of a criminal because he is associated because his daughter escaped, he is on the watchlist as being a troublemaker and branded politically unreliable. so in order to keep his place in
society he works hard to prove himself to the authorities and he joins the communist party. one year after pleading to the west, another child, the ninth and last child in the family is born. she pleads with the authorities to be able to go see her daughter in the west and after many rejections, the authorities finally agreed that it's under the condition that she will spy now working for the americans of the army military headquarters in heidelberg west germany. omar is allowed to take 5-year-old heidi who will need honda for the first time. at this as it turns out will be the only time that the two will ever meet in those 40 years. it's a brief but powerful meeting if she grows up idolizing her sister who has escaped so much so that as an adult she never joins the
communist party and another guy described how she managed with the result of that decision. succumb in the east the secret police intensify their control and manipulation of the population's east germany's 18 million citizens protecting their methods of penetrating every aspect of a person's life, reading their mail, listening in on conversations, tracking their movements, gathering compromising details in an attempt to learn people's weaknesses that can be exploited. in the book i talk about how they try to get the family to inform on each other and even send my grandparents to the west on the second edition to find out about the work and her new husband, my father who is the u.s. army intelligence officer stationed at the headquarters into this by the way is the last time my mother will see her parents. in the east they ramp up the use of informants using its own
citizens to work as spie a spy o report on their neighbors, classmates, teachers and family members. the program is successful because no one can be trusted and no one knows who the informant far. it could be a friend, the person you share an office with, the janitor in your apartment complex. the program of using informants would naturally have one in six in forming on their fellow citizen. one interesting story of a former east german and today is the historian who tells the story after the wall fell in the early 19 '90s he was having a conversation with an agent and said i think i would have known if you send someone to spy on me and he answered we didn't need to send anyone, these were people who surrounded q. and in
fact when he found out two of his best friends have reported on him so all of this is to say that it became a way of life and this is how life normalized for the people of east germany, people went to adapt the self censor their thoughts, and this just becomes a way of survival. we survived simply by following the rules, trying to stay below the radar and not confronting the system. so there's an uprising in east germany. workers protest the living conditions and demonstrate for basic human rights and for reform and freedom. but they move in with tanks and flush the rebellion. hundreds were killed, tens of thousands arrested for the role in participating. some 100 organizers that executed and along with over 20 soviet soldiers that are
executed for refusing to shoot demonstrators and now the secret police tells them of the leadership tells them to do whatever is necessary to make sure that an uprising never happens again. so by the 1960s, some 3 million around one sixth of the population has fled into the regime decides the time has come to do something to stop its labor force. if they don't want to see their country collapse altogether. while the border between east and west germany is secured due to the interconnected nature of the city, people are still able to escape but by now there are rumors that the regime plans to someday build a structure perhaps a wall to permanently separate west berlin to the east bus cutting off the last hope of escape. by the early 1960s, 2,000 are
fleeing into west berlin. the east german leader tries to escape by going on the airwaves and saying, and this is a quote, no one has any intention of building a wall. one month later that is exactly what he does. what starts as a brick wall eventually becomes a 12-foot high 3 feet thick wall with a top to prevent wire mesh, electrical fencing, tripwires, searchlights and sandwich makes it easy to spot the footprints. it stretches over 100 miles in circlinencircling berlin and ske country. one year later in 1962 to the
great disappointment his youngest son is ordered to be a border guard to serve at the berlin wall. within the building oattend a bl and 61 and the default in the ed nine come almost 150 people would be shocked trying to escape. some 1,000 others killed while trying to cross the border elsewhere while drowning in the baltic sea or the river. the berlin wall is clearly built to keep people in that the east german leadership tells its people it is built to keep subversives out, subversives on the west out. although some might be fooled, millions of others know exactly why it was built. so by now, my mother has built a wall of her own and even gives it a name, the family won't.
so i would like to read another excerpt from the book. the safe haven that she began to create the day that they step foot to shelter her family from the regime now have a name. she declared the wall as a sanctuary. a refuge where the family would preserve their soul by keeping the good in and the bad out. the children followed the lead into the concept took hold. outside o the children let down their guard as the fabric of the society began to fray under the yoke of the climate of oppression and families wondered whether or not they could trust their spouses, parents or siblings. she demanded family trust and loyalty. behind closed doors, she insisted that they foster the idea of the family wall if they were to have any chance to crush the spirit of the people.
so the cold war rages on and takes off the nuclear arms race continues with both the soviet union and the u.s. building their nuclear arsenal. major world attention for democracy against one another. presidenpresident kennedy and st leader go head to head in various conflicts eventually saying to the west we will bury you. after the wall is built, the reputation already at a low promise in an effort to upgrade the image the regime launches a sports program at the likes of which have never been seen in the history at all. suddenly the country of east germany is producing extraordinary athletes. the reputation goes up for a while, the world is stopping to watch every time and east germany shatters a record of the world competitions and at the
olympics. but then it's discovered east germany's doping its top athletes. she continues to speak up against the regime individually pays the price for the belligerence. finally denounced, marginalized from society, kicked out of the communist party and is banished to a remote area of east germany and even send to an insane asylum where he has to undergo education training. the family makes its way in the system and most childre of the n grow up to become teachers. they live their lives by following the rules, following the law and tryin try to presere dignity and trying to live a life of meaning in this restricted environment. the little sister goes up.
i also create a sort of little secret hideaway, sort of a magical place with a flower garden that becomes a kind of a refugrefuge where they can't ese emotionally from the stresses of society. paradise bungalow becomes an oasis of freedom and energy and i won't ruin that story for you, you will have to read that one. the 1970s, mostly my mother and father raised six children and we live a comfortable life in a land of freedom and opportunity. in the east, heidi has an 8-year-old daughter who is an athletic dynamo and she catches the eye of the sports talent for incredible athletic ability, and she is immediately swept up into the east german sports program. then in 1978 in the u.s., my brother albert, who is with us today as well, is an 18-year-old
college sophomore on the summer break goes on a backpacking trip to germany and unbeknownst to any of us, my parents as well, slips into east germany. another amazing story that i will not spoil for you. in the 1980s, the soviet union has a leader mikhail gorbachev. we have ronald reagan and the work to improve relations. by the time i arrived in berlin in the early 1980s as a army intelligence officer, the red army has 20 divisions facing the west. it's the height of the cold war and it's a hotbed of insurgent activity and now the spy capital of kabul. all sorts of intelligence activity from both sides of the berlin wall are being employed a advice is given a job of weaving
intelligent where we have teams of two to spy on the soviets. in the book i share a little bit about the teams that did this work for the discs and the dangers that came with the job including car chases, detentions, aggressive action from the par the part of the thd east germans who are targeting us constantly. the researchers were even able to come up with photographs of the operations surveilling me and my team and those pictures also in the book. incredibly while i was working in east berlin, a cousin who died tha then had been swept upo the intense world of german sports have become a member of the training team in the women's cycling into plus training and racing around in east berlin at the very same time that i was crossing into the hit.couple
miles away or conducting intelligence d. in the east. of course we didn't know that until the wall fell and we were able to figure that out. in the book i also told the story of some brave souls not related to the family. arthur nicholson who i worked with buried at the cemetery today shot and killed in 1985 while on a mission of east germany major nicholson became the last casualty of the cold war. i also spoke to family members and some who were killed trying to escape. i also tell the story of political prisoners that i interviewed and got a few that tried to speak up for the rights of all. i also spoke to who has now
become a personal friend. some of you may recall his extraordinary story. he spent several years throwing scraps of fabric together, canvas, bed sheets, are the bits of fabric sewn onto his mother-in-law's 40 year old sewing machin40-year-oldsewing t air balloon. he attached a homemade berber and they made an escape over the bold one night in 1979. there's pictures of the balloon in the book as well. by the mid-1980s, throughout europe they are taking his need for restructuring and opening up to the west but the leader of east germany, a hard right to the hard-line communist refuses
to budge from his position, and even bows to be the last remaining dictator in europe. but then suddenly november 9, 1989, the world is stunned when east germans are told that they are free to go. 16 million people emerge including my mother's family comincome and we reunite after 0 years apart. in the book i detailed how that came about possibly by accident and i take you through the reunion. i'm sometimes asked what is this book really about, what's the take away, what does it all mean. despite living under oppression and struggle and loss it is above all a story of courage and the power of the human spirit. it's also about never giving up
and never losing hope and finally, it's about the value of freedom. so i would like to end with this. when i was doing my research for the book i asked my uncle why he didn't join when he knew he could get ahead if he did. he said i knew the system was wrong. i wasn't going to trade my integrity for material benefits. then he said for m sent for me t about material things, it was wt about wanting better products or food. none of that mattered to me. i just wanted to the three. thanks for your attention. [applause] i probably went a little over but i think we can take a few questions if anybody has any.
>> thank you for the compelling story. i guess to somewhat related questions, the main one being the whole process and idea of joining the party in east germany during the cold war, was it easy to provide that what were the sort of requirements for being able to join the party? as anyone with clear criminal record allowed to join or was it based more on a level of achievement? >> it is based on the
willingness to be a member. that was about it. but obviously, they said it wasn't difficult to become a member of the party. they expected it. they welcomed everyone. >> the other part of it was just a use setting our own operations and missions and so forth into east germany, the way you put it you went there to spy on the soviets and i didn't know if that was because you were not really distinguishing between east german government and the soviets living and operating in east germany so as far as your work goes was there any distinction?
>> we were spying on the soviets had any information we could get that washington wanted us to get but i said the soviets because they were the major power we were interested in getting every bit, training, a lot of those kind of things as well but basically, it was an opportunity for us to keep our eye on what was going on in the east and getting as much information as we could from any place we cou could. it just depended on again, what the requirements were on any given day but we were out there to get as much information as we could. >> you were able to get in as a representative of the press or what was your -- >> i detailed that in the book. but due to the agreement after world war ii, it provided for
the powers to have the teams to go to each other's territory. so, the americans, british and french were able to access east berlin and all of east germany into the soviets were able to access the west berlin and west germany. so, the official job was to access our rights by the agreement but obviously gave us an opportunity. stick some things we did overtly and other things were not so. >> think you. >> it sounds like it is a human
story in the context of the major world event and those are kind of thinkers and i wonder if yowonderedif you could talk aboe research process. >> my research was done in three parts i would say. one was archival documentary photographic research. i found a lot of my information through american, reddish, german, russian archives that were easily accessible. some of them were recent documents the state department, and also they were able to get information from the archives and that sort of thing. letters that were exchanged and memoirs, those sort of things. and especially photographs were
important to my research. then the second part was the interviews or conversations with the families. in moscow for example he was closer to the families who i was able to visit them more often and so we have a lot of great conversation around the dinner table and that sort of thing. then when i lived in eastern europe, i was able to also to talk to the former soviet union's, former czechoslovakia on their perspective their persd experiences during the cold war, so that was very helpful for me to sort of understand the experience and then as i said, political prisoners. the third aspect was going to all the locations in the book.
that was probably one of the funnest things for me to do because i made these everything from the little village where i'm a met the town villager who basically said through the keys on the porch when you are done. it was like walking back into time. it was set up so you could research the village and everything from t cheap to the propaganda ki young pioneer uniforms and symbols of secret police and all these things, lecher so i was able to see the writing and things like that. and there was even a markup of
the classroom in that little tiny museum and some of them might have been using my grandfather's classroom. i was able to go to paradise bungalow. i visited the town where my grandfather and his family were banished after he spoke up one too many times and, so i think that was important. also, going back to berlin which if any of you spent time in berlin in the cold war you would know what it looked like then and if you haven't been back yet, you should go because it resembles nothing of what it looked like once upon a time.