Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Radio GDR. This is your host Steve Minegar, and the next three episodes will truly be a humbling and eye opening experience for all of us. On the Cold War Conversations podcast, our good friend Ian Sanders interviewed Ralph Hänel, Kung Fu Master, actor and just plain wonderful guy, about the lengths he went to learn martial arts behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany. In an attempt to leave for the west, Ralph was arrested and spent several years in a Stasi prison in Cottbus known as the “red misery.” Ralph relays this incredible story over three episodes on Cold War Conversations, which I highly recommend you listen to before consuming this series of episodes - see the links below. Ralph is an amazing storyteller and approached me to relay even more of his tragic but triumphant tale. Inspired by objects he has collected that have reminded him of moments in his life, Ralph tells us in this first episode about his father’s possible involvement in the Stasi, the lawyer he may have arranged for his son to get out of prison, and the psychological torture the Stasi inflicted on him and his mother. Just wait until you hear about how Ralph got his Kung Fu certificate into East Germany, the messages he snuck into a hole in his tooth and his Stasi handcuffs (I won’t give too many spoilers away). Ralph, we appreciate these stories very much.
You MUST listen to Ian Sanders' three part interview of Ralph before listening to these. They will absolutely set the context for these episodes, and are MUST LISTENS.
Episode 1 - Ralph – DJing and Kung Fu in East Germany
Episode 2 - Ralph – Arrested and interrogated by the Stasi
Episode 3 - Ralph – A prisoner in an East German jail
Read Ralph's short stories using this link
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