Those were the days, comrade, we thought they’ve never end…

Those were the days, comrade, we thought they’ve never end…
: Katarina Witt will play host to a German TV show about Ostalgie, nostalgia for the ways of the old, dead DDR.

The Olympic skating champion Katarina Witt will bring to a climax a wave of Communist-era nostalgia sweeping Germany with a television show next week highlighting the bright side of life in a totalitarian state.

A batch of films, TV shows and series is cashing in on a wave of popular sentiment for the East German Communist era, and nearly all have avoided painful subjects such as the infamous Berlin Wall.

The programme’s uncritical stance has angered those who suffered under Communism. Former dissidents who have studied East German Stasi secret police files say the shows are an insult to the more than 1,000 East Germans shot dead trying to escape to the West…

“It is an entertainment show,” Ms Witt said. “It is time to show we also had fun in the German Democratic Republic.” To drive home the publicity message, the ice-queen sports a blue communist Free German Youth movement shirt.

It is harmless to engage in a little nostalgia about the everyday life of the Osties: the Trabbie or their horrid Commie Cola. But it is harmful to forget about the man behind the curtain in East Berlin (just as it would be harmful to forget about the man behind the curtain in Baghdad). [via Pejman]

: I just finished and thoroughly enjoyed Anna Funder’s Stasiland with true stories and horror stories from behind the Wall. One great bit on the fumbling final days of the once-all-powerful tyranny:

I once saw a note on a Stasi file from early 1989 that I would never forget. In it a young lietuenant alerted his superiors to the fact that there were so many informers in church opposition groups at demonstrations that tehy were making these groups appear stronger than they really were. In one of the most beautiful ironies I have ever seen, he dutifully noted that it appeared that, by having swelled the ranks of the opposition, the Stasi was giving the people heart to keep demonstrating against them.

: I spent some weeks in Berlin before the Wall came down, researching a bad novel about the Wall that never got published (thank goodness). And so I am fascinated with all the stories that have come out since just because there was no way to see behind the curtain back then. Remembering is important. Remembering selectively is dangerous.

: By the way, has anyone heard when Goodbye, Lenin is opening in the U.S.?