A Souvenir of Terror

November 12, 2014 8:21 PM

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Twenty-five years ago it was torn down. I was a little boy when it was erected and I remember thinking, "What kind of country needs to build a wall to keep its citizens in? Why would anyone want to do that? If Communism is so great, why don't people just go there from countries that aren't communist?" I was 14 years old then. I thought at the time that there should be a three-week period when everyone in the world could settle wherever he/she wanted. I suspected everyone would want to live in New York. In a way, I still do.

In the last years of the Soviet Union, I got to fly into West Berlin a number of times to make recordings of the music banned by the Third Reich. The orchestra we used was called the RIAS Orchestra. Those capital letters had to be translated for me: Radio in the American Sector Orchestra. The Americ...

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