Chapter 1

Exodus (Merkel’s Journey)

As a young woman, Angela Kasner would set out from East Berlin each summer on a pilgrimage to the furthermost reaches of where it was permitted to go. While others left to tend the fruit trees and berry bushes of their countryside dachas, Angela traveled south through Dresden, where the wartime remains of the Baroque Frauenkirche were visible from the railway station, on to the faded capital of the Czechoslovak Republic, where the Prague Spring had long since reverted to winter. From there, she went to Bratislava on the Danube river, which formed the border with Austria and the unattainable West, then on to Budapest, where she occasionally mingled with the few Western visitors who visited; some told her the ...

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