Posted on Apr 25, 2019
Air Force signals intelligence veteran and novelist Roger L. Liles gave a great historical presentation of the circumstances and realities of the 49-year occupation of Berlin after World War II. This included the 94-mile Berlin Wall, Berlin Blockade (275,000 relief supply missions, half of which were to drop heating coal) and Berlin Crisis that took us within a gunshot of World War III. He cited numerous great statistics — 200,000 people fled East Germany annually until the wall was closed in 1961; only 30,000 of 105,000 who attempted to flee after that made it to West Germany before the wall came down in 1989. The others spent an average of five years in Stasi prisons, “Which make our worst prisons look like a picnic,” Roger said. During his presentation, he also showed the human impact, including a slide of two small girls, trapped in East Germany the second the wall closed, waving to their grandparents in West Germany. The separation would last 28 years.
Roger also talked about the Berlin tunnel that allies built underneath the River Spree to listen in and intercept Russian communications during the mid-1950s. This was the basis of his novel, The Berlin Tunnel: A Cold War Thriller (2018: Acorn Publishing) which involves a US serviceman who falls in love with a German woman who lives in West Berlin but manages a bookshop in East Berlin. When the wall closes, they must rush to rescue her parents  — all while dealing with the always imminent danger of working within the tunnel. It’s a good read, both for historical value and story. If you weren’t able to buy one at the meeting, you can order: