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Lecture

GER100 Lecture Notes - Ostalgie, Phantom Limb, Nuclear Winter


Department
German
Course Code
GER100
Professor
Paul Malone

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26 November 2012
Ostalgie
o Similar to the phantom limb phenomena
The “Strength through Joy” Car
Reinvented as the Volkswagen “The People’s Car
o German nickname, Caffer, the Beatle
Generation Golf (Germany’s “Generation X”)
Hensel basically states that former East German children were not a part of this generation
Trabant “the people’s car” of GDR
The forerunner of the Trabant: AWZ P70 (1955-57)
o The P stands for plastic
Duroplast: a plastic material
Next was the Trabant P50 (1957-62)
o The basic means of transport for many East Germans
o The epitome of Socialism: “it was bad, it wasn’t very efficient, but it somehow
managed”
Then upgraded to the Trabant P601 (1964-91)
o The final version of the “Trabi” became an important symbol of East German economic
success
o You would have to apply for a car, and it would take approximately 2-3 years for it to be
delivered
o Because of the Duroplast, they can’t corrode; after we all die due to nuclear winter the
only thing left will be cockroaches and Trabants
o In recent years, people have attempted to bring back the Trabant as a modern, electric
vehicle
Not that much diversity in car choices unless one was to import a car from Russia, Yugoslavia, or
Croatia
The sense of loss and dislocation that is at the heart of many feelings of nostalgia can easily be
explained in the case of Ostalgie, since an entire state, together with its institutions, cultural
values, and individual hierarchies, has been swept away, leaving its former citizens with the
formidable task to locate themselves in a n unfamiliar society, complete with its own values,
rules, and hierarchies.
While only a few may desire a return of the Stalinist political system of the GDR, the majority of
individuals, however, seem to miss a sense of legitimacy of their individual past, together with
its own symbols and rituals.
In particular, I want to demonstrate that the products of the GDR have acquired a new life, and
thus a new validity as the material witnesses of a discourse community that bases its identity in
the shared knowledge…
Perhaps two of the most ubiquitous
The later stages in the history GDR
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