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  • Writer's pictureEllen Alpsten

Incredibly inspiring...

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

I spent the last weekend in Berlin. It's a city that has lived through multiple changes in our lifetime. When I was a child, it was known to be a grey and grumpy island, lost in a Soviet sea.

Reaching it in those days involved at least 4 hours' drive. The speed restriction was rigid - if you drove 1 km quicker than the prescribed 100 kmh, the GDR VoPo would pull you over, shout at you, slap you with a huge fine and, to add insult to injury, let you sit and stew for hours on end until they might or might not allow you to continue your trip on the 'Avus'. Avus means 'grandfather' in Latin and is the loving nickname of the world's first ever Autobahn. At the time, its traffic flowed like a lifeline towards Berlin, bringing people and provisions.

How could this ever change? But that's what we love about history and her stories. They ae so utterly surprising. Today, after 30 years of being the world's biggest building site, Berlin has truly become the capital of the Europe's strongest economy. It attracts masses of international visitors, artists, festivals, politicians and visitors from all walks of life.

After drifting through the streets during the day, I in the evening attended a beautiful Thanksgiving Dinner. 'So, what do you do?' asked Ulrike, the well-heeled lawyer, with whom I chatted during the Aperitif. Her fair hair was pulled back taut, her white shirt buttoned up to her throat, her lipstick was a slash of red. 'I am an author. But I have just launched something new. It's called Living Legacy,' I said, explaining. All her rigid reserve dropped. 'This is amazing. It's just what I had been thinking about: I have started to write up my families' stories. They are quite inspiring.'

'What is it they did?'

'One built ships and traded with the whole world, furnishing the royal palace in Honolulu. If you visit Hawaii today, plenty of items in there were chosen by my ancestors. The others were the York von Wartenburgs, who were crucial in the Stauffenberg coup, plotting to kill Hitler. His wrath brought us to the brink of extinction. He tried to execute all males of the family.'

'That DOES sound incredibly inspiring. But it might be tough to combine in one book?'

'Then I'll need two books. May I have your card?'

I love REAL people and REAL stories. So many brilliant books waiting to be made.

Long live Living Legacy!


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