Tag Archives: American Memorial Library

A Gift that Keeps Giving: The American Memorial Library in Berlin

By Svenja Dörflinger

“Today we are lay­ing the cor­ner­stone of the Amer­i­can Memo­r­i­al Library. It is to be open to all who desire to enter and learn what men of all nations and all beliefs have thought and writ­ten. It is the free­dom to learn, to study, to seek the truth. This is the essence of a free soci­ety. This is the source of our great­est strength.”

It’s the year 1952 – a hot June day in West Berlin. The city’s may­or, Ernst Reuter; U.S. High Com­mis­sion­er for Ger­many, John McCloy; and Amer­i­can Sec­re­tary of State, Dean Ache­son, are lay­ing the cor­ner­stone for the first Amer­i­can pub­lic library in Ger­many, the Ameri­ka Gedenkbib­lio­thek (Amer­i­can Memo­r­i­al Library). In his speech, Ache­son not only gives hope to the peo­ple of Berlin – who live in a divid­ed city after a hor­ren­dous war – he also deliv­ers a mes­sage that is per­haps more top­i­cal than ever.

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