November 20, 2013

20,000 Vinyl LPs 27: Kennedy In Germany ~ June 1963

June 1963 ~ Berlin
detail of photo by Ulrich Mach
detail photo by Styrous®

One of the gems of my vinyl LP record collection is a recording documenting the 6 day diplomatic visit by John F. Kennedy to Berlin in June of 1963. Kennedy In Berlin is housed in the spoken word section of my record collection as it is a verbal documentation, day by day, of the historic visit.

Kennedy In Germany
cover photo by Ulrich Mach
photo of cover by Styrous®



Kennedy In Germany
back cover photo by Ulrich Mach
photo of cover by Styrous®


The album is a gatefold with pages of photos and commentary about each day of the Berlin visit. The photographs in the 5 page, book-style album are beautiful but, oddly enough, there is no credit for the photographs anywhere on the album; I had to really scour the net to find out who took them.

Kennedy In Germany
photos by Ulrich Mach
photo of open gatefold by Styrous®


Kennedy In Germany has narration by one of the most celebrated journalist/reporters of that time, Howard K. Smith.

Kennedy In Germany
narrated by Howard K. Smith
detail photo by Styrous®


left: about the time of the recording
photographer unknown
right: March 1947 (check out the do)
Photo: Getty Images



There's a really cool seal on the cover of the record album simulating sealing wax. It says, "Philips Connoisseur Collection".

Kennedy In Germany
detail photo by Styrous®


Page one begins the narrative with a great shot of President Kennedy riding through the streets of Berlin amidst adoring crowds, in an open car, no less.

Kennedy In Germany
page 1 photo: ride through Berlin
photo by Ulrich Mach
photo of interior pages by Styrous®


Page five contains the famous speech by Kennedy on June 26, 1963 at the Schoeneberg Town Hall, Berlin, and a photo from that event. In an impassioned speech to a crowd of 120,000 people, the president told them West Berlin was a symbol of freedom in a world threatened by the Cold War. "Two thousand years ago," he told the crowd, "the proudest boast in the world was 'civis Romanus sum' (I am a Roman citizen). "Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is 'Ich bin ein Berliner.'" Years later, a German-speaking friend once told me that in Berlin, "ein berliner" is a slang word for a jelly doughnut. So, in essence, Kennedy told them that he was a doughnut. "Ich bin Berliner" would have been more appropriate but they loved him, though, and they didn't mind the fauxpax

Kennedy In Germany
"Ich bin ein Berliner." speech
lower photo: Berlin Tegel Airport
both photos, June 26, 1963
photo by Ulrich Mach
photo of interior page by Styrous®


there is another John Fitzgerald Kennedy article on the Viewfinder


What an exciting time in our history it was; most of the world loved us (not all, perhaps) and we held it in the palm of our hands. We didn't know that it would be for the last time.


Styrous ~ November 20, 2013

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