Steinstuecken: A Little Pocket of Freedom
When the Cold War split Berlin in half, between East and West, the neighborhood of Steinstuecken was trapped in the middle. For more than twenty years, it was caught in a tug-of-war between the Americans and the Communists. It became a symbol of the Cold War's tensions. Steinstuecken: A Little Pocket of Freedom, tells this hamlet’s story against the backdrop of the Cold War in Western Europe.
Steinstuecken officially belonged to the U.S. Occupation Sector of Berlin. But, it was located outside the city boundaries, completely surrounded by East German territory. No West Berlin-owned roads or trails connected it to the city. Neither the U.S. military nor the West Berlin police could travel there in vehicles or on foot. It was a de facto Western island in a "Red" sea. Yet, for more than 20 years the U.S. kept Steinstuecken out of Communist hands.
America could have turned its back on Steinstuecken—but it didn’t. U.S. officials in Berlin rose to the hamlet’s defense. During the Berlin Wall crisis, the Americans flew a Military Police (MP) detachment into the village to ensure its safety. The MPs maintained that outpost in Steinstuecken for more than ten years, flying soldiers in and out by helicopter.
Steinstuecken was a test of America’s resolve to keep its promise to defend West Berlin. It was a frequent target of Communist pressure. The neighborhood’s name was often in the news; its fate drew the attention of world leaders—even the President of the United States. Time and time again, the residents of Steinstuecken stood up to Communist threats, often at personal risk. Meanwhile, they tried---and managed---to live as normal a life as possible. They also built a close friendship with the Americans who safeguarded them. This book tells how they did it.
Steinstuecken: A Little Pocket of Freedom describes the challenges America faced in Cold War Berlin and the determination and resolve that many West Berliners showed when facing Communist soldiers on a daily basis..
- Mary JohnsonPresidentSt. Charles-Ludwigsburg Chapter, Sister Cities International.