All that had changed by the time I was nine. Now, everything revolved around politics. My great model back then was Willy Brandt of the Social Democrats, at the time the Lord Mayor of Berlin, who went on to become the German Chancellor a few years later. I mailed him a small chapbook in which I had drawn political cartoons with a critical take on the conservative Christian Democrats. I was mighty proud when Willy Brandt wrote back: He thought it quite extraordinary that a boy my age took such a keen interest in politics. Sadly, I misplaced the letter over the years, but the autograph he enclosed I still own.
The photo gives you an idea how I arranged my “office.” It looked a far cry from what you would expect from a little boy’s room. I was an avid reader of dailies and complex political periodicals such as the SPIEGEL. I had also cut out pictures of all major politicians and pasted them on a big poster on my wall.

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