KIOS-FM

Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson

International correspondent Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is based in Berlin and covers Central Europe for NPR. Her reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning programs including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

She was previously based in Cairo and covered the Arab World for NPR from the Middle East to North Africa. Nelson returns to Egypt on occasion to cover the tumultuous transition to democracy there.

In 2006, Nelson opened the NPR Kabul Bureau. During the following three and a half years, she gave listeners in an in-depth sense of life inside Afghanistan, from the increase in suicide among women in a country that treats them as second class citizens to the growing interference of Iran and Pakistan in Afghan affairs. For her coverage of Afghanistan, she won a Peabody Award, Overseas Press Club Award and the Gracie in 2010. She received the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award from Colby College in 2011 for her coverage in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Nelson spent 20 years as newspaper reporter, including as Knight Ridder's Middle East Bureau Chief. While at the Los Angeles Times, she was sent on extended assignment to Iran and Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. She spent three years an editor and reporter for Newsday and was part of the team that won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for covering the crash of TWA Flight 800.

A graduate of the University of Maryland, Nelson speaks Farsi, Dari and German.

A housing shortage for asylum seekers in Germany has led one city to propose a controversial solution that would place 21 refugees in a barracks on the grounds of a Nazi-era concentration camp. Carsten Morgenthal, who is a spokesman for the city of Schwerte in North Rhine Westphalia, tells the Westdeutsche Allgemeine newspaper it isn't the first time this would be done. Two decades ago, Schwerte officials also placed refugees at what was once a forced labor branch of the notorious Buchenwald...

Romania is one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in Europe and it's been that way for years. It's a tough legacy to overcome, but there are signs the country is trying to make a fresh start. Klaus Iohannis, an underdog presidential candidate who campaigned on a platform of fighting corruption, won a surprising victory last month over the ruling party's nominee. Iohannis, 55, was sworn into office last Sunday. To make headway, he'll need to work in tandem with Laura Codruța Kövesi, who...

Twenty-five years ago, the Communist leaders of Eastern Europe were falling like dominoes. And on Christmas Day in 1989, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, were executed by firing squad. The deaths of the despised couple ended a quarter-century of iron-fisted rule that translated into oppression and misery for most Romanians. Yet many in that country — including some of their opponents — question the summary nature of the Ceausescus' trial and sentence. One is the...

Manfred Karg says he doesn't know how his eldest son, Alfons, became mixed up with radical Islamists. Whatever happened, the German pensioner's 19-year-old son from Hamburg is now dead, one of at least 60 Germans killed fighting alongside ISIS militants, nine of them in suicide attacks, according to German authorities. Karg says two young men with an "immigrant background" knocked on Alfons' mother's door to tell her of his death in Syria last summer. "When she opened up, they said: ...

All of us are familiar with the sound a smartphone makes when an email or text has arrived. Our somewhat Pavlovian response is to pick up the device, see who the message is from and read it. In Germany, a growing number of these emails come from the boss contacting employees after work. That's not healthy, say experts on work-related stress, including psychologist Gerdamarie Schmitz in Berlin, who is feeling the technological encroachment herself. "This horrible phone I have with me, and so I...

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: This evening, 8,000 helium balloons lit up the root of what was the concrete and barbed wire barrier known as the Berlin Wall. The installation marks a quarter-century since the wall was breached and thousands of Berliners from the Communist East flooded into the Capitalist Western half of the city. NPR's Berlin correspondent Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson has gone over to the balloon wall to view the...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bN9ZRj3NBs To many Germans, Harald Jaeger is the man who opened the Berlin Wall. It's a legacy that still makes the former East German border officer uncomfortable 25 years after he defied his superiors' orders and let thousands of East Berliners pour across his checkpoint into the West. "I didn't open the wall. The people who stood here, they did it," says the 71-year-old with a booming voice who was an East German lieutenant colonel in charge of passport...

German authorities say they're investigating possible neo-Nazi involvement in the theft of an iron gate at the former Dachau concentration camp bearing the infamous phrase: "Arbeit Macht Frei" or "Work Makes You Free." Those eerie words greeted some 200,000 prisoners who arrived at Dachau, which was the first concentration camp the Nazi regime opened in Germany. Tens of thousands of people sent there died from starvation and overwork as well as from medical experiments, torture and violence...

Berlin is an on-again, off-again capital with a darker history than most cities in Europe. It served as the epicenter of Hitler's Third Reich and was nearly wiped off the map at the end of the last World War. Berlin was also the flashpoint of the Cold War between the United States and Russia. Their conflict split the city into two, leaving residents on either side cut off from each other in every way imaginable for a generation. Still, visitors hoping to relive a John le Carre Cold War spy...

Germany's defense minister warns that her country currently can't meet its long-term NATO commitments because of a widespread grounding of German military planes and helicopters. "At the moment, we are below the target numbers announced a year ago on airborne systems we would want to make available to NATO within 180 days in cases of emergency," Ursula von der Leyen told the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag over the weekend. "The reason is the delays in getting replacement parts" for planes...

Germany is the world's third-largest arms exporter and Sigmar Gabriel, the country's minister for economic affairs, is determined to move his country farther down that list. Gabriel argues that exporting billions of dollars in arms annually, much of it to countries with questionable human rights records, such as Saudi Arabia, is at odds with the pacifist identity Germany established after World War II. In late July, he told German public television broadcaster ZDF, "There are basic rules in...

In Berlin, thousands of people gathered at the Brandenburg Gate on Sunday to demonstrate against a wave of harassment and attacks against Jews in Germany. Many blame the rising anti-Semitism there and across Europe on tensions over the Gaza conflict. Chancellor Angela Merkel, who attended the Berlin rally, said there is no place for anti-Semitism in Germany, particularly because of its Nazi past, and that fighting it is every German citizen's duty. Merkel is usually reserved in her reproaches...

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: I'm Melissa Block. And as we've been reporting, NATO and world leaders are sharpening their criticism of Russia over its actions in Eastern Ukraine. And in Ukraine, residents of a strategic port city are working alongside government soldiers. They're building up the city's defenses against a widely anticipated assault. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is Mariupol and sent this report. SORAYA SARHADDI...

Ukraine has accused Russia of trying to open a new front in the war between the government and pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine says its troops are involved in heavy fighting with an armored force that it says entered Ukrainian territory. Kiev has also released video of what it says is a group of captured Russian soldiers. Russia says the soldiers might have crossed the border inadvertently. Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED - I'm Audie Cornish. ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: And I'm Robert Siegel. There's been strong international reaction to Russia's latest action in Ukraine. This morning a convoy of Russian trucks crossed the Ukrainian border. Moscow says the trucks are carrying aid for civilians. But Ukraine says the convoy crossed the border without permission and without Red Cross...

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Ukrainian government claims its armed forces have recaptured a large part of the eastern city of Luhansk following fierce battles Wednesday with pro-Russian separatist fighters. This is part of a broader campaign by the Ukrainians that has been marked by a number of successes recently. But as is often the case here, it's impossible to independently verify what either side says. Both the military and the rebels prevent reporters from getting near embattled areas, and in many places like...

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: There's been more heavy fighting in Eastern Ukraine today. Ukrainian government troops are said to be battling block-by-block inside the separatist-held city of Luhansk. In addition, they claim to be closer to retaking the major city in the region, Donetsk. ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: Also today, the Ukrainian military said, it has begun collecting the bodies of refugees killed in an alleged missile attack on...

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: Ukraine says its artillery has destroyed a number of Russian military vehicles. Ukraine says those vehicles crossed into its territory overnight. NATO says the same. But Russia denies any of its forces crossed into Ukraine. Meanwhile, a controversial convoy that the Russians say is carrying humanitarian aid has been halted on the Russian side of the same border. And there have been other attempts to...

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block. ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: And I'm Robert Siegel. There's been more heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine. This is happening as Ukrainian and Russian aid convoys are heading towards the area, although still isn't clear how the Russian trucks plan to cross the border. Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is outside Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, and Soraya, where...

The trial of a 58-year-old truck driver who is accused of firing more than 700 shots at other vehicles on German highways over five years began today in the northern Bavarian city of Wuerzburg. The man, who German media say was born in the former East Germany, was arrested at home in the small town of Kall in western Germany in June 2013. He is being identified by the German media only by his first names and last initial – Michael Harry K. — in accordance with German laws. He was briefly...

Stefan Daniel says he has no control over the multiple sclerosis that is short-circuiting his body. The disease, which attacks the nervous system, has forced the 51-year-old German psychologist to give up his career and most hobbies, including running and photography. He spends his days in an electric wheelchair and rarely ventures out of his Berlin apartment. "It's so difficult for me to open the door," he laments. A caregiver comes to his home four times a day to help him with meals,...

In the waiting room at Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital, an Israeli woman was shouting at a Palestinian mother whose son was being treated for a beating he received from a Jewish mob. "Go away you trash," the Israeli woman yelled at the Palestinian. "I would bury you in Gaza." A second Israeli woman joined in the verbal barrage, complaining that her taxes shouldn't be paying for Palestinian treatment. Two other Israeli women came over to comfort the Palestinian mother. But she is in no mood for...

Israeli officials say the country's deadly ground offensive won't end until its soldiers destroy a vast network of Hamas tunnels the militants use to try to attack Jewish communities outside the Gaza Strip. Three more soldiers died Wednesday when explosives detonated as they uncovered one of those tunnels. That came hours after Hamas released a graphic video claiming to show another deadly tunnel-generated attack inside Israel earlier in the week. Such incidents have many Israelis asking why...

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: The U.N. Security Council overnight called for an immediate, unconditional, humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza. Israel says it's begun what it calls a limitless halt to its strikes in Gaza, but will respond if attacked and will continue to destroy the tunnels Hamas built from Gaza into Israel. This morning, Palestinian militants fired a rocket into Israel, and Israel answered with an artillery barrage....

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep. RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: And I'm Renee Montagne. The holy month of Ramadan comes to an end early next week with the celebratory feast, Eid. And Secretary of State, John Kerry, is hoping for a holiday cease-fire in Gaza. He's proposed a seven-day truce and is waiting for a response from Israel and Hamas. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is in Jerusalem and...

At least three times a day, Imad Abudayyah, 49, fires up his laptop at the West Bank hotel where he's currently living with his 11-year-old son, Ghassan, to reach out to relatives in the Gaza Strip. Abudayyah says Skype is the only way they can see the family members they have left behind. He is a Western-educated budget expert who is working with the Palestinian Authority on finance reform, a post that makes it easier for him to obtain an Israeli permit to come and go from Gaza. But even for...

Pages