Escape Routes: Experiencing the Opening of the Berlin Wall and the End of an Era

Wednesday Sep 30, 2009 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM This is a past program

Co-presented with the Wende Museum

Please note there has been a change in the program: Michael Ott and Uta Schorlemmer will join the discussion in place of Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck.

In conjunction with the Wall Project, The Wende Museum's civic commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, East Germany experts Richard Barkley, Michael Ott, and Uta Schorlemmer discuss dramatic events leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent final days of the GDR. Moderated by Gregory Rodriguez, Irvine Senior Fellow and director of the California Fellows Program at New America Foundation.

Please visit to learn more.

About the Panelists

Gregory Rodriguez is director of the California Fellows Program and an Irvine senior fellow at the New America Foundation, a non-partisan public policy institute. He has written widely on issues of national identity, social cohesion, assimilation, race relations, religion, immigration, ethnicity, demographics and social and political trends in such leading publications as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times, where he is an op-ed columnist. He is the author of Mongrels, Bastards, Orphans, and Vagabonds: Mexican Immigration and the Future of Race in America, which The Washington Post listed among the Best Books of 2007.

Richard Barkley was a career member of the Senior Foreign Service and the last American Ambassador to the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) from 1988 to 1990. He departed Berlin upon the reunification of Germany. Upon retiring from the Department of State in 1995, he became Chairman of the non-profit Palace Arts Foundation.

Uta Schorlemmer is East German and the daughter of Friedrich Schorlemmer, the famous Wittenberg pastor who started the 'ploughshare' movement in the GDR. She teaches German at Occidental College. Her work addresses theater history, applied drama and dramaturgy. Uta has worked as a dramaturge at the International Theater Festival Zürcher Theater Spektakel in Zurich, Switzerland in 2004-2006. She was awarded the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland in 2008 and is the author of many essays and several books such as Art at the End of RealsozialismusDevelopments in the Eighties in 2008.

Michael Ott was born in Hannover, West Germany, after his parents had fled from Magdeburg, East Germany, in the mid-fifties. He works since 1990 as a diplomat in the German Foreign Office. In November 1989, when the wall came down, he was in the finishing stages of his 2nd law degree in Berlin (West). Since having joined the Foreign Service he has been posted with the German NATO delegation in Brussels, the German Embassy in Damascus, the German UN mission in Vienna and in Bonn and Berlin. Presently he is the Consul for Culture, Press and Legal Affairs in the German Consulate General in Los Angeles.

Support provided by the Center for European and Eurasian Studies, UCLA.

Public programs are made possible, in part, by a major gift from Ann and Jerry Moss. 

Additional support is provided by Bronya and Andrew Galef, Good Works Foundation and Laura Donnelley, an anonymous donor, and the Hammer Programs Committee.