For ten days every February, it’s all about bears in Berlin: the Golden Bear and his silver brothers, to be precise – the much-coveted trophies at the Berlin International Film Festival, known as Berlinale for short. Industry experts from Germany and all over the world gather in the German capital to watch a fraction of the 400 films screened over the course of the festival. The entire city is in the grip of cinemania, tickets sell like hotcakes and would-be festivalgoers frequently find themselves queuing up for hours to get hold of some.
Berlinale award ceremony 2018. Image courtesy of © Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin / Velvet Creative Office
Life in socialist East Germany, and in East Berlin in particular, holds an ongoing fascination for a lot of people. While many of the events and anecdotes we know about today are quite disturbing, there are also plenty of clichés and cultural oddities that are simply flabbergasting. Here are 15 facts about life in the German Democratic Republic that will probably come as a surprise to you. Did you know that…
Did you know that Bruce Springsteen played the largest concert of his career in East Germany? With a total of 160,000 tickets sold through official channels, the actual size of the audience at the concert in Berlin-Weißensee is estimated at closer to 500,000 people. Bryan Adams, Joe Cocker and James Brown also played the same venue in the summer of 1988. What many people don’t realise is that socialist East Germany had its own home-grown live music scene. Many of these bands are still touring and recording today. To commemorate the 30-year anniversary of the GDR’s legendary ‘Summer of Rock’, this article looks back on some of the acts that shaped the vibrant music scene in East Germany.