Secret Spy Photos from East Germany Revealed! All kinds of awesome from the time that the Berlin Wall fell. [coral cache]
Due to population decline, Detroit plans on bulldozing roughly a quarter of the 139-square-mile city into semi-rural farmland. It is a worst case scenario in America, but pales to the problem of Eastern Germany, where demographic collapse in some towns is so severe, urban-wolves and neo-Nazis are the new order of the day. The mayor of one town says: "You can't go into the forest without a knife anymore." [more inside]
"In hindsight, it’s often seen as inevitable that the two Germanys would reunite. But this, too, is a somewhat revisionist view. " Tim Mohr writes about the "awkward twist" about the fall of the wall, many of the protestors did not seek unification.
The BBC World Service has put together a special report on the 1989 revolutions in Eastern Europe (they also have a simpler portal). There is a wealth of material, including TV reports on key events from the BBC archives, interviews, a map timeline, a report on Catholicism's role in the 1989 revolutions, a first-hand report of what it was like to gather news in East Germany during that time and much more.
DDR-Modell Autos.info meticulously catalogs radio controlled and flywheel powered cars made by East German (DDR) toy makers such as Presu, Elmes, MSW, Anker, Piko, Gevo, Plasticart and Sommermeyer.
Right-Wing Rot: A Village In the Hands of Neo-Nazis Houses torched, pets killed and outsiders chased away: Such is life in the Eastern German town of Jamel. For years, it has been controlled by the neo-Nazis who live there. Even the mayor says he has given up. [more inside]
East Germany suffers from a posthumous image problem. People think that life in the former GDR was a dreary round of dodging the secret police and mandatory attendance at Boy-Loves-Tractor films. Nothing could be further from the truth. Life in the GDR was fun. You could take pictures with ORWO Film (mildly NSFW. Five seconds of toplessness at 1:15). You could zip through the countryside in your MZ. You could fit every soccer ball in the neighborhood in your Wartburg. And for the ultimate in class-conscious, revolutionary mackitude, there was the Trabant. If these little clips aren’t enough, if you want a whole bunch of East German commercials, here’s a long video called Flotter Osten (Again, mildly NSFW: Same topless shot for about five seconds at 8:07).
Katarina Witt's Stasi connection. SECRET police files on Katarina Witt have revealed that the most glamorous and popular sporting figure in the former East Germany was so close to the Stasi that she considered them a "partner".