Today, 54 Years Ago

Posted by on Aug 13, 2015 in Uncategorized | 15 comments

UnknownToday, 54 years ago, the people of East Berlin awoke to find the western half of their city surrounded in barbed wire. For that reason, August 13, 1961 is remembered as “Barbed Wire Sunday.”


It was a day that divided a city, divided its people, and divided family, friends, and loved ones.


barbed wire Berlin


Over the next several years, the barbed wire fence became a 103-mile concrete wall designed to keep East Germans from crossing into the free half of their country. No government in history had ever walled in its own people. Hundreds of people lost their lives in attempting to escape. It is unknown exactly how many people succeeded. Those who escaped often hid that fact to protect their loved ones still in the east.



A NIGHT DIVIDED is the story of Gerta Lowe, whose family is divided on Barbed Wire Sunday. When Gerta receives a mysterious note from her father, who is in the west, she begins to formulate a plan for how they might be reunited.

A very dangerous plan.

A NIGHT DIVIDED will be released on August 25th. I think it’s a story you’re going to love, and a time in history everyone should know!



  1. That’s really unfortunate for them – and a wall that’s 103 miles. That is amazingly long.
    Happy Unfortunate Anniversary! (How am I supposed to say that?)
    – Loreley

    • Hmm, happy unfortunate anniversary seems pretty good. Thanks Loreley!

  2. Can’t wait to get it in my hands and the excite my kids about it! I’m sure my new group of kids will love your books as much as the others have! Thanks for always writing great stories. 🙂

  3. That image of the two girls standing next to one another really tugs at your heart strings. Looking forward to reading A Night Divided, it sounds like I will also learn a lot.

    • I hope you’ll enjoy the story, Brenda! I mostly want readers just to enjoy the adventure, though I’m sure there will be new things to also discover about the time period.

  4. It would have been something if this book was released on the Anniversary of the Barbed Wire Sunday. Either way, this new book is great. All readers, you will love it.

    In Jennifer’s other books the main character’s are funny, stubborn, and really really mouthy. In this book Gerta is not mouthy or funny. The traits that I have found are that Gerta, Nic and Jaron will never stop doing something when they have their mind set on it and they all get in trouble

    Also, this is Nielsen’s first book that is based purely on facts and not on fiction. Yes, griffins did not exist in Roman times and Carthya was not a country in the medieval times. So it is a truly interesting read with the book being historic fiction and not fantasy.

    • Thanks, Luke. And yes, you’re right about Gerta being quite different from Nic and Jaron in many ways, though I think she is exactly the right heroine for this kind of story. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  5. I cant even imagine what it felt like for those people!

  6. Thank you, Jennifer, for writing this book. I can hardly wait to read it. When I was growing up, the Berlin Wall really scared me. To me it was the height of implacable, ruthless evil. Yes, there was generalized apprehension about The Bomb (atomic, hydrogen), but somehow the Berlin Wall scared me a lot more, left me with a feeling of dread. Conversely, when in 1989 things loosened up and people were able to leave via Hungary and other countries, I had such feelings of hope that even now my eyes fill with tears. And then when it was brought down–WOW. I don’t have words to express my joy. So many people worked steadily, either directly or indirectly to bring it down, some at the level of exemplifying inner freedom, some, like President Reagan, demanding that the wall be torn down.

    Sorry this is such a long comment, but as you can see, I am thrilled that you’ve written a book about Barbed Wire Sunday. I’m thinking of pairing it, in middle and high school booktalk shows, with When the Wall Came Down, a new nonfiction book about the wall being brought down that includes the history of how the wall came to be built. As Mikael Gorbachev once said, the future belongs to freedom.

    • I sincerely hope you’ll enjoy it, Kristine. Growing up, it took me a long time to see the people behind the Iron Curtain as real people rather than movie villain props. Like you, the wall coming down was a most incredible moment in my life. I hope this book will be a tribute to that era, and that it will resonate with young readers. Thank you for considering it for a book talk!

  7. Dear Jennifer, My Grand daughter brought the book “A Night Divided” to share with me as she felt it was the best book she had ever read, and she is an avid reader.
    I LOVED it! I spent the whole day reading and enjoying your writing style and the story of an event that had taken place in my lifetime. Thank you for using language that a young girl can hear and enjoy as well as keeping the theme on subject and not drifting into the areas that do not have a part in our reading about the Berlin Wall.
    You are a wonderful example to all of us… Carolyn.. in Nevada

    • Carolyn, thank you so much for this kind post. This is exactly the response I had hoped would come from this book – a story that generates conversations between the generations. It makes my day to hear that this book was shared in that way with you and your granddaughter. Please tell her hello from me!

  8. Dear Jennifer,
    Your book is the best while being terribly sad it was amazingly written with a great twist at the end. My father is reading it to me and I have already read it three times. I LOVED it!!!!!!!

    • Thank you very much, Rebeccea! It does have some very sad parts, but I’m glad that you loved the ending!

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