Ich bin ein Berliner

“Ich bin ein Bear-liner” said JFK in his famous address to the people of the Ursus-loving German city on June 26th, 1963. No, really it’s what he said. It’s on the cue-card and everything.

JFK's Ich bin ein Berliner notes
JFK’s Ich bin ein Berliner notes

It’s funny but this little four word phrase has become one of the most famous quotations from the last century. Ever. Former First Lady Jackie Kennedy reflected on this in a letter to her friend Willy Brandt, only a year after they were spoken :

“How strange it is – sometimes I think that the words of my husband that will be remembered most were words he did not even say in his own language: ‘Ich bin ein Berliner.'”

Of course it was only a few months after the well-known words were spoken to a crows of some 450,000 Berliners that the popular President was assassinated, so Jackie would have been thinking of things her husband would be remembered for when she was writing in 1964.

Which brings me nicely to the subject of this post; what was JFK remembered for? The people at Museum: The Kennedys are helping to answer that question.

Museum The Kennedys
Museum The Kennedys

I know what you’re thinking now: why is there a museum about an American President in a European city? It’s because he wasn’t just an American President. He was a Berliner. That is to say, he considered himself a citizen of Berlin not -as some people claim-  a Jam Donut.

The Museum itself offers a glowing portrayal of JFK, but manages to underline certain aspects that made him such a successful politician such as his iron-clad grasp on the type of image he projected: a family man, a man of the people, an ordinary man with an extraordinary job.

JFK and Jackie Kennedy
JFK and Jackie Kennedy

The images of his young children playing in the Oval Office were certainly charming, but anything that even suggested a hint of a whiff of scandal was ignored. Or it’s entirely possible that I missed it. I mean, how could they ignore Marylin Monroe’s Happy Birthday, Mr President?

Perhaps the city still remembers him as a larger than life character who represents the good things in life, like Truth and Justice? Someone who could fly in and literally save the day, like a political Superman. Actually, it’s funny I should mention Superman, check this out:

JFK meets Superman
JFK meets Superman

“If I can’t trust the President of the United States with my secret identity, who can I trust?”


This comic is on display in the museum, and apart from the cue card (above) it was my favourite object on display. It really shows how much JFK -or in this case JFKal-El?- was liked, respected and above all trusted. Superheroes don’t reveal their identity to just anyone, especially not politicians. More to the point, it is very rare indeed for a contemporary politician to make a prominent appearance in a Superhero comic.

I really enjoyed this museum, but found it terribly difficult to track down. We spent days and days wandering around trying to find it! So I’ve tagged it as a Secret Museum and, to help out any fellow Museum Adventurers, keep your eyes peeled for this distinctive building:

Look for the monkeys!
Look for the monkeys!

The Museum The Kennedys is in the complex just next door.

If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy the JFK themed badges at the Museum of Museum Badges.

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