Two years ago I posted old pictures from my grandfather. Interestingly I got a lot of feedback about that post. Pictures from everyday life of GDR citizens seem to be scarce and especially people outside Germany can't really imagine how it was to live in East Germany. Well, I only lived in the GDR for not quite 6 years, so I don't really remember much other than my childhood consisted of mostly playing outside, having no TV, getting good candy and chocolate from relatives visiting from West Germany and having a wonderful time at grandfather's little self-built house. (Our house was old, run down and ice cold in winter.)
My father (rare colour picture above) didn't live to see the united Germany. He died in January 1987 at the age of 32. I kind of think that he was tired of not being able to do what he yearned to do in life (mainly see the world and get on as an engineer) and didn't care much about his health. He had diabetes (the type young people get) and medication wasn't good in the GDR. So, one day his heart stopped.
I was only 3 and a half years old. I'm left with lots of pictures of him, though, and like to share some.
Rudi (my dad's name) in front of our house as a boy. It is the same house I was raised in and my mom and "new" father live in to this day. The door has since been taken out and a new one has been modeled to look exactly the same. (Our street is under monumental protection for looking like a Thuringian village should look like.)
I love this picture. There is a church in the background which represents home for me to this day.
Rudi doing military service for the National Army of the GDR. Every young man had to join and those who planed to study at university for at least 3 years. Compared to the others he seems a mere boy in uniform.
What I can gather from the photographs in my possession is, that Rudi loved to be with his friends and there always was something going on. Maybe a little Roleplay game as spy? (Picture from the early 1970s.)
Or organizing a little box fight with friend on the field just outside our village?
Seems like he won.
He loved cars and a kind of machinery all his life. He went on to become an engineer.
He went on to university in Karl-Marx-Stadt (it was renamed after the Unification to Chemnitz in Saxony). Picture from his dorm room in the Mid-70s.
There are a lot of pictures that show him cooking with friends.
And also doing the Thuringian's favorite past time: BBQing.
In winter he was an avid skier and even won a silver medal in slalom for the GDR.
His other great passion was photography (hello there, genes!). Here a picture of him taking a picture at the famous Japanese restaurant in Suhl. It is said to have been the only Japanese restaurant in the GDR, which is not quite true. But it is true, that this restaurant by Mr. Rolf Anschütz was so popular, you had to book 1 year in advance. Meals were taken the "Japanese way"(as it was thought of to be by Mr. Anschütz): One took a bath - together with everyone else - put one a yukata and then joined the banquet with lots of exotic food. I had the honour of meeting Mr. Anschütz in 2000. He became an advisor to a school report I wrote. I also got an internship at his Japan-style hotel at that time and he encouraged me to study Japanese language and culture at university. He has since passed away (in 2008) and a German movie about his life has been released last year. (Sushi in Suhl.) My mom jokes that my passion for Japan must stem from this visit to this restaurant as she was there with my father and was pregnant with me, but didn't know it yet at that time. (She always laughs about it, because she felt so sick afterwards...) (Picture from 1982.)
My father and me. (1983)
Despite all the shortcomings of those times, me and my parents were a happy little family. (Picture from 1983, taken in front of my Grandfather's house.)