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.

Pages

Afghanistan
5:00 am
Tue March 31, 2015

The Ascent Of Afghan Women

Sandra Calligaro for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 4:47 pm

Zahra Karimi Nooristani, 18, cautiously works her way down a rock face high above Kabul as her coach, Farhad Jamshid, guides her.

It is hazardous for his top female student to be rappelling here, not only because of the steep drop, but because she is using a frayed, 9-year-old rope handed down from the men's mountaineering team.

Another danger she faces is the prospect of her neighbors finding out she's climbing at all.

Read more
Europe
5:08 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

German Town Grieves For Residents Lost In French Alps Crash

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 8:00 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Europe
12:40 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Germanwings Disaster Marks First Crash For The Budget Airliner

The airline operating the plane that crashed in the French Alps says the plane had been inspected and found safe Monday. Officials in the German town that lost 16 schoolchildren in the disaster say there will be no classes tomorrow, but children will be welcomed for counseling.

Read more
Muslim Identity In Europe
12:09 pm
Fri March 6, 2015

Germans Open Their Homes To Refugee Roommates

Berlin residents Mareike Geiling (left) and her boyfriend, Jonas Kakoschke, speak with their roommate, a Muslim refugee from Mali. Geiling and Kokoschke helped launch a website that matches Germans willing to share their homes with new arrivals.
Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson NPR

Originally published on Sat March 7, 2015 9:47 pm

Asylum-seekers are flooding into Germany in record numbers, with more than 200,000 applying for that status last year, many from Muslim countries, according to the government.

Read more
Muslim Identity In Europe
5:22 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Highest-Ranking Muslim German Official Says Terrorist Attacks Bolster Discrimination

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 6:55 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Read more
Europe
4:57 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Without Apprenticeships, Migrant Germans Lack Career Opportunties

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 7:52 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Parallels
4:35 am
Sat February 28, 2015

A German Muslim Asks His Compatriots: 'What Do You Want To Know?'

Earlier this month, Dr. Sadiqu al-Mousllie, accompanied by his family and a few members of their mosque, stood in downtown Braunschweig, Germany, and held up signs that read: "I am a Moslem. What would you like to know?" in an effort to promote dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims.
Courtesy of Sarah Mousllie

Originally published on Sat February 28, 2015 10:27 pm

Sadiqu al-Mousllie sees humor as a good way to fight growing anti-Islam sentiment in Germany.

He lives in Braunschweig, in western Germany. Earlier this month, he decided to go downtown and hold up a sign that read, "I am a Moslem. What would you like to know?"

"This is a bridge of communication," the Syrian-born German says. "Some people dared to ask, some others not, so we went to them and give them some chocolate and a say of our prophet to know what Muslims are thinking about."

Mousllie, 44, says he hopes to do it every other week.

Read more
Europe
8:01 am
Sun February 8, 2015

Merkel's U.S. Visit Could Turn Testy

Originally published on Sun February 8, 2015 11:41 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Read more
History
3:40 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

A Holocaust Survivor, Spared From Gas Chamber By Twist Of Fate

Jack Mandelbaum, a Holocaust survivor from the Polish city of Gdynia, poses in front of a photograph showing him as a youth.
Tobias Schwarz AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 4:20 pm

Seventy years ago, Soviet soldiers liberated Auschwitz, the most notorious of Nazi concentration camps.

Some 300 Holocaust survivors were at Auschwitz on Tuesday, along with several European presidents and other government officials, to honor at least 1.1 million people who were murdered, 1 million of whom were Jewish.

Among those killed there were Jack Mandelbaum's mother and brother. The Polish-born Mandelbaum survived, spared at the last minute by an officer of the dreaded SS who yanked the teen away from his family and sent him instead to a forced labor camp.

Read more
Europe
4:48 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Police, Counter-Demonstrators Dampen Anti-Islam March In Leipzig

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 7:00 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Parallels
5:33 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

A German Plan: House Refugees In An Old Concentration Camp

The warden's barracks at a satellite camp of the Buchenwald concentration camp in Schwerte, Germany, on Jan. 13. According to media reports, the city has proposed housing around 20 refugees in buildings at the camp. The move has drawn protests in Germany.
Bernd Thissen DPA/Landov

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 camp during World War II.

Read more
Europe
5:04 am
Tue January 13, 2015

Germans March In Dresden To Protest Radical Islam

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 8:01 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Read more
Europe
4:32 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Anti-Immigrant Rally Draws Thousands In Dresden

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 5:30 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Read more
Parallels
7:46 am
Sat December 27, 2014

Long Plagued By Corruption, Romania Seeks To Make A Fresh Start

Klaus Iohannis was an underdog who was the surprise winner of Romania's presidential runoff election last month. He was sworn into office on Dec. 21 with a promise to crackdown on corruption, a chronic problem in Romania.
Gabriel Amza for NPR

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 11:10 am

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.

Read more
Europe
4:57 am
Thu December 25, 2014

Romania's Rush To Judge Ceausescu Haunts Retired General

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 7:00 am

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

Parallels
9:44 am
Wed December 24, 2014

25 Years After Death, A Dictator Still Casts A Shadow In Romania

Romanians burn a portrait of Nicolae Ceausescu in Denta on Dec. 22, 1989, as residents take to the streets to celebrate the downfall of the dictator.
Joel Robine AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 3:38 pm

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.

Read more
Europe
4:43 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

New Romanian President Vows To Crack Down On Corruption

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 6:58 pm

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Read more
Parallels
3:13 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

From German Teen To ISIS Jihadist: A Father's Struggle To Understand

Alfons R. of Hamburg, Germany (shown in this undated photo), converted to Islam at age 17. Later, he went to Turkey, then Syria, to join ISIS. He was killed this past summer.
Courtesy of Manfred Karg

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 10:34 am

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: 'Congratulations, your son is now in paradise,' " he says.

Read more
Parallels
3:35 am
Mon December 1, 2014

German Government May Say 'Nein' To After Work Emails

German Chancellor Angela Merkel uses a mobile phone during a meeting of the German federal parliament in Berlin, on Nov. 28, 2013. The country's labor minister supports a call that would prohibit employers from sending emails to employees after normal business hours.
Michael Sohn AP

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:46 pm

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.

Read more
Europe
5:22 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Though Usually Stoic, Merkel Shows Growing Ire With Russia

Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 6:39 pm

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

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Read more

Pages