* 1948 IN DÜSSELDORF
A ONE-WAY JOURNEY
When Nora and Gerhard Leo move from Dusseldorf to East Berlin in 1952, their daughter Annette is four years old. They simply never return to West Germany from a winter vacation in Thuringia. Gerhard Leo, a former Résistance fighter, is head of a network of agents that collects information about the structure of the West German secret service for the KPD (Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands, or Communist Party of Germany) intelligence service. When his most important informant is transferred to West Berlin, the Leo family takes up residence in the eastern part of the city. The network is exposed a short time later, and the KPD intelligence service is disbanded. Gerhard Leo begins working as a journalist again.
I never dreamed about the Federal Republic of Germany. The place I dreamed about was France, the country of exile where my father grew up.
Annette Leo settles into her life in the GDR quickly and makes new friends. She and her younger sisters grow up privileged. Annette Leo does well on her A levels examinations, studies history and becomes a journalist. In the 1980s she works as a freelancer. Her misgivings about GDR socialism grow. Because her father does not tolerate discussion on the topic, the two become estranged. She quits the SED (Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschland, or Socialist Unity Party of Germany) in September 1989. Soon after, she becomes active in Neues Forum (New Forum, an East German political group that eventually became part of Alliance 90/The Greens, the green party in Germany) and now advocates for a third way, beyond state socialism and market economy.