Joanna Kakissis

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Tomorrow, Germany begins auctioning frequencies to build 5G mobile networks. It is both a highly technical event and the center of a geopolitical storm. Like much of Europe, Germany is squeezed between its economic ties to China and its longtime alliance with the U.S. NPR's Joanna Kakissis reports from Berlin.

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The European Union has largely tolerated Hungary's nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, despite his government's crackdown on civil society and virulently anti-migrant rhetoric.

Then came the billboards depicting two elderly men who appear to be cackling. One is the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker. The other is Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros, who Orban loyalists falsely claim is plotting to flood Europe with Muslim migrants.

"You have the right to know what Brussels is planning," the billboard reads.

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Nearly 75 years ago, Hungarian police forced Rozsa Heisler onto a train, along with thousands of other Hungarian Jews.

"We were crammed together for five days without food or water," she recalls. "We didn't know where we were going. Then we reached Auschwitz."

Heisler's mother and grandfather were murdered at the concentration camp. She and her sister, sent on to a labor camp, survived on leftover potato peels.

Andrassy Avenue in the Hungarian capital of Budapest is lined with neo-Renaissance mansions and luxury boutiques representing the finest names in Europe.

One name stands out: Ghraoui. It's the name of a premier chocolatier from Syria.

Inside, there are hand-engraved orange trees on the walls and frescoes of apricot trees on the ceiling. There are glass cases, as if you're in a gallery or a jewelry store.

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