Skip to Content
Weekend
Edition

Best of the news
from abroad
Every
Saturday

Arriving at
6:00 AM

November 9 2019
Back to the issue

Berlin, Berlin, Berlin. What about Ljubljana?

Everyone is so caught up in remembering the moment on November 9, 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell that nobody is even thinking about the seismic events that took place 30 years ago in the homeland of Melania Trump.

Seriously. How can it be that we have a Slovenian-born, Sevnica-bred First Lady who was a student at the University of Ljubljana when Communist Yugoslavia cracked and splintered into independent free (and now antagonistic) states, yet we never hear her talk about the experience? And how does she feel when she sees so many former Soviet satellites that hungered for democracy in 1989 revert to the same kind of iron-fisted regimes they sought to escape?

Gilded and Marbled

Though, in a way, we kind of understand why she doesn’t speak up. Somewhere inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Melania is living out her own Appointment in Samarra.

Melania Knauss fled the tyranny of Eastern European Communism—and Balkan nationalism—only to end up married to a balking nationalist who wants to build a wall of his own and considers Vladimir Putin a role model. Tito’s palaces were gilded and marbled—just like Trump’s. When Melania was a girl, the U.D.B.A., the secret police, kept track of everyone—now she is followed on social media and TMZ.

So, as the world pauses to celebrate the revolutions of 1989, we are especially proud that we managed to get our hands on an exclusive, never-before-seen, and completely unverified excerpt from Melania Trump’s private diary, which reveals—in full—the inner thoughts of America’s First Lady and her plans for the election of 2020.

When Melania was a girl, the U.D.B.A. kept track of everyone—now she is followed on social media and TMZ.

But that’s not all. Henry Porter, who was a reporter in Berlin when the Wall came down, recalls what that surreal night was like, including the Bill Buckner–style gaffe by a Communist apparatchik that started it all.

In Paris, Alexandra Marshall saw Roman Polanski’s acclaimed new film about the Dreyfus affair, and explains why you won’t.

We have an interactive quiz by Ted Heller that is fiendishly clever. (Don’t even try—you’ll never get it.)

And best of all, Mike Nichols, who died in 2014, is himself again in an excerpt from Life Isn’t Everything, an oral biography by Ash Carter and Sam Kashner, which is subtitled “Mike Nichols, As Remembered by 150 of His Closest Friends.”

And that’s just the start. For more, read on.

Back to the issue