Move over, Trabant: Here’s Barkas!

I remember the first time I saw one: it was in Leipzig, behind a restaurant that also owned a GDR airplane. The airplane was now an event location, but somewhere behind the buildings, covered knee-high in grass, was a forgotten piece of GDR history: a Barkas, the VW Transporter van of East-Germany. I instantly fell in love with it, but soon enough it became clear that this van was no longer drivable. Ever since, I’ve been dreaming about owning a Barkas van – because they might be even more charming than the Trabant.

Central Berlin - Barkas
Ambulance Barkas. Image courtesy of Riki1979
Continue reading

Berlin for Mothers – And not only on Mother’s Day

As my final month in Berlin has started, it is safe to say that my parents have been my most loyal visitors. Even though they had seen Berlin’s highlights long before I decided to move here, they didn’t hesitate to visit me time and time again. In fact, my mother might know more about Berlin than me by now. With Mother’s Day only a few days away, I want to dedicate this post to my mother and share some of her favourite things to do in Berlin.

Continue reading

“Hier spricht Berlin” – East German Radio Stations between Propaganda and Entertainment

The sweeper for Peter Niedziella’s iconic weekly radio show “Musikalische Luftfracht” was recorded by an actual air hostess in 1970. DJ Niedziella piloted his precious musical cargo through the East German airwaves for over 20 years, flying under the radar of censorship to bring Western pop music to his many listeners. His show was an exception in the state-controlled and ideology-driven environment of East German radio. Balancing the transmission of socialist values with audiences’ yearning for some light entertainment was never an easy job.


Image courtesy of katz23 – fotolia
Continue reading