Posts Tagged ‘DDR


DDR, 2011


Reading it now!


Good cop – bad cop

Riots in London. A woman jumping out of the window reminds me of other jumps, back in August 1961, on Bernauer Strasse. Good cops, bad cops, here it comes again.

Last week I visited the Ordnung und Vernichtung exhibition at the Deutsche Historisches Museum about the horrors perpetrated by the police during the Third Reich. And running up to the 50th anniversary of the Berlin wall we did read quite a bit about the DDR Vopos and their Schieβbefehl (order to shoot).

How much police should there be in a democratic State? Difficult question. But the question should be preceded by “how much education and opportunities are in there for citizens? is it true democracy or just a smattering of democracy?”.

In the end mistakes will always be made. The crucial thing is to learn from them. The auto-critique shown by the German Police in this extremely tough exhibition is something I’ve never seen in Italy. I’m thinking to Bolzaneto. How many of those Italian policemen fit the picture of “vocational ambition, group pressure and esprit de corps, sadism and personal gain” among those involved in the beating of peaceful protesters in Genoa?

Maybe Britain and Italy could use some auto-critique too. Critics to “the system” and “to society” wearing Adidas hoods and looting the shops are not credible and are plain criminals: order and rules are necessary. Still, justice and social justice should be the basis where to start from. In France we had the banlieues, in London Tottenham, nothing like that in Italy yet, but the ingredients are the same, oder?

Fire Photo: The Guardian


it’s melt time!!!


L’enfance aux pays socialistes

I am now reading another graphic novel: Marzi, by Sowa and Savoia. The childhood of a Polish girl (Sowa). Marzi is set in the 80s and there’s Jaruzelskij and Chernobyl, Solidarnosc and the Pope.

In a sense it’s my teenage years. I remember the empty shelves of the Emona Slovenian supermarkets. The availability of just one brand of biscuits. Chocolates had to be with cherry filling. The difference is that we would travel across the border, to Yugoslavia, to do some selected shopping. The first private butchers started to appear in Slovenia and their home-slaughtered meats were very good. They preferred to sell to foreigners in order to make bigger profits.

Sometimes we felt awkward because the locals were queuing at the state-owned shops. We felt we were “robbing” them of their best products. But on the other hand, with the somewhat “harder” currency (the lira!) the butcher could invest in livestock and employ some people, and change some lives. We were very fond of our Slovenian butchers.

We would buy meat, yogurt (which was much better than the Italian one) and sometimes I insisted in having my Dad buying me some Napolitaner (wafers with a pink packaging – State products) and the legendary Pez candies with their capitalistic-Disney plastic dispensers.

Later, during my teenage years, I had many penpals from the Socialist Countries. And learnt what a Pewex store was from my friend Gregorz from Czestochowa and what the STASI was from my many DDR friends.

We were not living in a socialist country. But in Triest we knew very well what it meant.


One, U2, play…

In an editorial (or a play?) on the New York Times, Bono recalls 89 and 09. And Merkel’s favorite proverb: “Always be more than you appear and never appear to be more than you are.”
Published: November 14, 2009


Emily Hass, “Rosenthaler Str 1-5,” 2009 Continue reading ‘One, U2, play…’

Mexico? no, DDR…


Tonight at the Goethe Institute we saw “Spur der Steine”, a 1966 DEFA film. It was censored immediately after its first screening and it became available in theaters in the DDR only from november 1989…not surprisingly!

As per IMDB: “Hannes Balla is the foreman of a group of building construction workers at the large construction site “Schkona” in the GDR. They spend most of their time working hard and drinking harder – to some they are fun, to some they are a public nuisance. Things get more complicated when the good-looking Kati Klee is employed as a young technician, and the ambitious new Party Secretary, Werner Horrath, aims to boost work efficiency and downsize Balla’s ego. A contemporary movie about work, love, and everything in between”.

Interesting film about “carreerism”, with an almost critical view on the SED party, with Walter Ulbricht portraits and  the like. A bit of a Peyton Place film too. And the foreman…he’s got a great presence. In between 1960’s Alberto Sordi’s “spaccone” characters and today’s Ben Affleck equally “spaccone” characters. Manfred Krug is groβartig in this role. The film is weird too…where women engineers remove their tights in the middle of a building site in order to avoid the dust, widows are mad for Eilikör, carpenters wear an earring with a pearl and swim naked in the middle of ducks.


hungry as a wolf

Two posts ago, we were the 1980s, the Cold War and the Iron Curtain were there lebonsimonlebonand I was in love with both John Taylor and Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran. Geez…I could not make up my mind! In Cold War attire, Le Bon had a bon enfant sovietique spy attitude.

So it seems quite appropriate, after last week’s full immersion on STASI’s Eric Mielke, to get to know more about Markus Wolf.

Listen to the whole story on Radio2’s “The STASI over Berlin”



Thank you Mik for  the heads up!

And well done to Radio 2 for the “View to a kill” cameo. After all, “a fatal kiss – is all we need”.

Continue reading ‘hungry as a wolf’

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