Test The West! Metamorphosis in East Germany

Part of the Global Perspectives on War and Peace Collection. A look at East Germany immediately following the fall of the Berlin Wall.

0:00Copy video clip URL East German Simone Shoemaker translates a letter she received from the Embassy of the German Democratic Republic stating that the government of her country no longer exists.

0:39Copy video clip URL Two men replace an old billboard picture with pictures of happy people  smoking West brand cigarettes and a statement: “Test the West.”

1:17Copy video clip URL Shoemaker describes how rapidly the government of East Germany fell apart. She gives a brief history of East Germany and tells us how the people of the country are adjusting to the change. She says it hasn’t been easy going from socialism to western ways of life. The people had a lot of money they didn’t have to work so hard for, and now they’re suddenly losing jobs, facing competition they didn’t know.

3:55Copy video clip URL Shoemaker interviews two women and a man as they try Burger King Whoppers for the first time ever. “It’s not bad… But for dinner, no way… Otherwise my husband, he would throw me out.”

5:08Copy video clip URL Shoemaker voice over. In gaining new freedom, East Germans seem to have lost a sense of what is good and healthy. Educational magazines have been replaced by pornography. People are getting sick of the advertisements everywhere. Tells about how upsetting it was to see markets in Berlin selling hats and badges of East German officers. They’re not history like the Wall is history. “They were never even tried for their crimes, they just took their hats off and disappeared into the crowd.”

7:21Copy video clip URL Shots of the East Berlin side of the wall that wasn’t sold to tourists. Many interesting murals and paintings made by artists after the revolution.

8:58Copy video clip URL Shoemaker voice over.  East Germans are different than West Germans, and it’s taking time to adjust. Despite problems, people are hopeful.

9:47Copy video clip URL Shoemaker interviews a man who says he’d never want to go back to the old system despite the problems he now faces.

10:14Copy video clip URL Credits.


1 Comment

  1. Wayne Hiltz says:

    Made less than 2 months after the Berlin Wall falling down, it’s a very good personal perspective of someone who has lived under the old regime her whole life & who has ambiguous feelings about the change into a Western system with its consumerism & possible job losses. It’s a precursor of the “Ostalgia” feeling that developed in former East Germany during the 1990s. Thus it’s an important timepiece.

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