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.

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Europe
3:18 am
Wed August 13, 2014

Older German Workers Jump At Chance To Retire At 63

An employee works at the axle gear production line at a BMW plant in Dingolfing, southern Germany, on March 23, 2012. This BMW plant installed special ergonomic workspaces to help its rapidly aging workforce — a trend that's reflected in Germany's economy as a whole. That's one reason why critics oppose a new move to lower the country's early retirement age.
Christof Stache AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 6:02 am

Germany recently lowered its retirement age from 65 to 63 for longtime workers, a move Chancellor Angela Merkel's government says is aimed at easing the burden on older Germans in the workforce.

But the decision is not popular with German businesses or with governments in struggling eurozone countries, which accuse German officials of hypocrisy. They say it's wrong for Germany to demand sweeping cuts in their countries while Merkel's government beefs up benefits at home.

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The Two-Way
7:36 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Trial Of Alleged German Autobahn Shooter Begins

Truck driver Michael Harry K. is brought into a courtroom in the regional court in Wuerzburg, Germany, on Monday. His face is blurred in accordance with German laws.
Karl-Josef Hildenbrand DPA /LANDOV

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.

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Parallels
1:22 am
Thu August 7, 2014

When And How To Die: Germany Debates Whose Choice It Is

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 6:49 am

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.

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Middle East
1:27 am
Mon August 4, 2014

Is There Any Empathy Left In The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?

Members of the Israeli security forces stand guard as Palestinian Muslims perform Friday prayers on a street outside the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday.
Ahmad Gharabli AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 1:29 pm

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 reconciliation and retorted: "What good will your apologies do?"

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Middle East
2:15 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

In Gaza, A Day That Begins In Fear Ends In Cease-Fire Agreement

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 6:07 pm

The day began with Israel's military calling up 16,000 more reservists, stoking fears of a widening offensive in Gaza; it ended with a 72-hour cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas. The cease-fire is to begin Friday.

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

Parallels
3:24 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Gaza's Network Of Tunnels Is A Major Hole In Israel's Defenses

An Israeli army officer walks near the entrance of a tunnel allegedly used by Palestinian militants for cross-border attacks, at the Israel-Gaza border. A network of tunnels Palestinian militants have dug from Gaza to Israel is taking center stage in the latest war between Hamas and Israel.
Jack Guez AP

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 7:24 am

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.

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Middle East
4:09 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Israelis Broadly Support Military's Operation In Gaza

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 11:52 am

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

Transcript

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Middle East
2:45 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

In A Complex Web Of Tunnels, Israel Draws Its Red Line

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 5:40 pm

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

Middle East
5:09 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Kerry Awaits Response From Israel, Hamas On Proposed Cease-Fire

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 6:14 am

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:

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Middle East
3:30 am
Wed July 23, 2014

As Gaza Fighting Rages, West Bank Palestinians Can Only Watch

Palestinian Imad Abudayyah and his son, Ghassan, speak to relatives in the Gaza Strip via Skype from Ramallah in the West Bank. Israeli restrictions make it extremely difficult to travel between the two territories. West Bank Palestinians have largely been bystanders in the current round of fighting.
Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson NPR

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 12:31 pm

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.

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Europe
2:11 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

In Germany, A Case Against Another Alleged American Spy

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 8:39 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Parallels
3:14 am
Sun July 6, 2014

Germany's Battle Over What May Be Its Last Lenin Statue

A statue of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin outside an apartment complex in Schwerin, Germany. Erected in 1985, four years before communism collapsed in East Germany, it's believed to be the last Lenin statue in Germany and the town is divided over whether it should stay. The inscription reads, "Decree on land," referring to a Lenin manifesto that said workers were the real owners of the land.
Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson NPR

Originally published on Sun July 6, 2014 12:48 pm

It's easy to miss the controversial bronze statue. It stands in front of a Soviet-style, high-rise apartment in the East German city of Schwerin.

Far removed from the ornate city center, this 13-foot-tall depiction of Vladimir Lenin has him looking relaxed. His hands are tucked in his coat pockets and he's gazing off into the distance.

But an angry message is scrawled in red paint across the sidewalk at his feet. In German, it reads: "LENIN STAYS."

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The Salt
3:39 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Got Leftovers To Share? In Germany, There's A Website For That

Europeans throw away 90 million tons of food each year, including these vegetables pulled from waste bins of an organic supermarket in Berlin. A new German website aims to connect surplus food with people who want it.
Fabrizio Bensch Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 2:26 pm

Child psychiatrist Vero Buschmann says she was looking for a way to get rid of leftovers without having to throw them away. At the same time, the Berlin resident wanted to meet new people.

She found a nonprofit website in Germany that allows her to do both. On a recent evening, her doorbell rings and she buzzes Franzi Zimmerman in to her fifth-floor apartment.

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Sports
2:44 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

For German Fans In Berlin Beer Garden, National Pride Is No Problem

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 5:10 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Of course, today's match drew big crowds in both the United States and Germany. We first go to NPR Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson in Berlin, who joined scores of Germans at a beer garden to watch the game on three screens outside.

SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, BYLINE: Most Germans are uncomfortable displaying national pride because they are sensitive about their country's notorious history. But they make an exception during World Cup season, and today, thousands of Berliners carried German flags.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD AT BEER GARDEN)

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Europe
3:22 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Chancellor's Tough Talk Against Russia Makes Germans Nervous

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 12:19 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Europe
4:22 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Leader Of Anti-Semitic Party In Hungary Finds Out He's Jewish

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 5:57 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, BYLINE: Now an election story in Europe with a strange twist. As we've been reporting, in European Parliament elections this week, far-right parties did particularly well including Hungary's Jobbik party. They are known for, among other things, being anti-Semitic. It turns out their former second-in-command is Jewish. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports from Budapest.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVAL RECORDING)

CSANAD SZEGEDI: (Speaking foreign language).

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Europe
5:47 am
Sat May 24, 2014

Ultra-Nationalist Party Surges In Hungary

Originally published on Sat May 24, 2014 12:09 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And the far right is poised to do well in Hungary's EU election tomorrow. Candidates blame the EU for many of that country's problems. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports from Budapest.

SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, BYLINE: To many Hungarians, a half-finished World War II monument next to a popular fountain in downtown Budapest highlights the extremist tenor of politics in this former East Bloc country.

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Europe
3:05 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Ukraine's Oligarchs Still Entwine Business With Politics

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 7:41 am

The leading candidate in Sunday's presidential election is an oligarch. And the interim government is turning to other oligarchs to help restore calm in some crisis-plagued provinces.

Europe
3:05 pm
Sun May 11, 2014

Eastern Ukraine Muddles Through Voting On Referendums

Separatists in the eastern Ukraine regions of Donetsk and Luhansk asked voters to take part in an unauthorized referendum Sunday on whether to make their region independent.

Europe
2:11 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

On Victory Day, Fanfare In Crimea And Turmoil In Eastern Ukraine

Originally published on Fri May 9, 2014 6:45 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. President Vladimir Putin travelled to Crimea today to mark the anniversary of Russia's victory in the Second World War. It was his first time there since the peninsula was annexed by Russia. His visit was criticized by the Ukrainian government and Washington, but Putin told Crimeans that by being together with Russia, they're stronger.

PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: (Speaking foreign language)

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Europe
3:11 am
Fri May 9, 2014

In Ukraine, Two Men Claim To Be The Leader Of Donetsk

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 1:26 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

Pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine say they are going ahead with an independence referendum on Sunday. The pro-Western government in the capital, Kiev, argues this vote would be illegal. And this all has many Ukrainians worried about what happens next. This next story shows how far apart the two sides are. Two men each claim to be the leader of the region called Donetsk.

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports on both.

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Europe
2:54 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Spurning Putin's Calls For Delay, Ukrainian Separatists Forge Ahead

Originally published on Thu May 8, 2014 5:49 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. In eastern Ukraine, pro-Russian separatists have decided to go ahead with Sunday's referendum on independence. That's despite Russian President Vladimir Putin urging them yesterday to postpone that vote. Here's the self-declared governor in the eastern region of Donetsk earlier today.

VALERY BOLOTOV: (Foreign language spoken)

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Europe
3:04 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Ukrainian Troops Battle Pro-Russian Insurgents

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 8:34 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Let's get an update now on a struggle starting to look more like a war in Ukraine. At least four Ukrainian soldiers and 30 pro-Russian fighters have been killed in this latest round of fighting as the government tries to retake cities near the border with Russia. Several Ukrainian helicopters have been shot down by well-armed separatists.

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Europe
3:00 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Violent Protests Spread From Eastern Ukraine South To Odessa

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 7:28 am

Tensions remain high in the former Soviet republic of Ukraine. Violence has led to the worst death toll since February, including more than 30 pro-Russian separatists who died in a building fire.

Europe
2:21 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Deaths And Downed Helicopters In Eastern Ukraine Offensive

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 9:17 am

Transcript

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Europe
2:13 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

For Separatists, Ballots Are On Their Way — But Plans Are Still Pending

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 6:32 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Europe
2:00 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Ukraine's Acting President: We've Lost Control Of East

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 4:18 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. Ukraine's interim president says his military forces have lost control of the eastern part of the country. That declaration today came after masked separatists captured government offices in a key provincial capital. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is in the city of Donetsk in the east where separatists also wield control.

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Europe
2:00 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Marchers And Mayhem In Eastern Ukraine City Roiled By Protests

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 4:18 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THING CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. The U.S. and the European Union hit Russia with more sanctions today on both individuals and companies for refusing to deescalate tensions in Ukraine. In a moment, we'll hear more details about those sanctions from NPR's Scott Horsley, but first to eastern Ukraine where the new penalties did little to curb violence.

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Europe
2:22 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Heated Words On Air Often Don't Match Events On Ground In Ukraine

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 5:15 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. The government in Kiev accused the Kremlin today of trying to start another world war. This comes as a team of unarmed military observers in Ukraine is said to have been detained by pro-Moscow militants. The group is made up of representatives from several European countries. They've been monitoring growing tensions in eastern Ukraine.

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Europe
2:16 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

As Putin Rides Wave Of Popularity, Opposition May Get Swept Under

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 4:38 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

In Russia, President Vladimir Putin is enjoying unprecedented public support for his recent annexation of Crimea. His pledge to protect Russian, speaking citizens elsewhere in Ukraine, by military force if necessary, is also wildly popular. Putin is banking on that support as he moves to quash another perceived threat: His political opponents at home.

NPR Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson went to Moscow for that story.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken)

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