Here is Angela Merkel, in an interview with Der Spiegel, reflecting on her life in East Germany before the Berlin Wall fell:
DER SPIEGEL: Germany is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Imagine, if you will, that the wall had never come down and East Germany (GDR) was celebrating the 70th anniversary of its founding this autumn. What do you think would have become of you?
Merkel: We certainly wouldn’t be here talking to each other. That much is clear.
DER SPIEGEL: And what would you be doing?
Merkel: I would have at least been able to realize my dream. In East Germany, women retired at 60, so I would have picked up my passport five years ago and traveled to America. Pensioners were allowed to travel outside of East Germany. Those who were no longer needed as socialist workers were allowed out.
DER SPIEGEL: The United States was your dream destination?
Merkel: Of course, I would also have spent some time looking around West Germany. But I wanted my first longer trip to be to America because of its size, variety and culture. I wanted to see the Rocky Mountains, drive around in a car and listen to Bruce Springsteen. That was my dream.
DER SPIEGEL: In a huge American cruiser?
Merkel: No, I prefer smaller cars. But it would certainly have been something better than a Trabant.
Read the entire interview here.