When we think of the GDR (or East Germany) we normally think of a state defined by its secret police, or of shortages and grim architecture. Yet in Germany, there has long been a culture of nostalgia for life in the East (or Ostalgie, in German).
"Very good detail and insight."
This conversation will attempt to look at the GDR in the round - not to diminish its dictatorial side but instead to build a picture of a society which no longer exists. A society in which some citizens lived very contended lives, but others were brutally punished for deviating from the state's image of the perfect society.
We will look at a range of cultural depictions of this society and personal anecdotes from people John knows to build up a layered image of life in the GDR. Above all, this will be a talk which looks at nuance in history and attempts to build a fair picture of a complex society.
"He clearly loves his subject and makes it accessible!"
John studied History and German at the University of Oxford, eventually specializing in German-Jewish history and the history of the Third Reich. He has been coming to Berlin since he was a teenager and moved to the city permanently a couple of years ago. The tangibility of history, especially that of the twentieth century, never ceases to thrill him in Berlin.