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Blog: Nostalgia for East German products on Berlin Wall anniversary

November 10
2009

Nostalgia for East German products on Berlin Wall anniversary

East German products have received a new lease of life 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall as Germans bask in nostalgia for the old Democratic Republic.

Years after the last Trabant chugged off the production line, the iconic car it is set to take to the roads again, but this time sporting an ultra-modern electric engine instead of the dirty two-stroke of communist days.

Despite possessing a body made of plastic and cotton matting, and a poor reputation for reliability, original Trabants still see a brisk trade on eBay in Germany with models in good condition going for as much as £2,000. The Trabant's popularity has much to do with "Ostalgie", or nostalgia for the East, which has breathed life into a broad array of items linked to East Germany.

Given a modern marketing campaign, Vita Cola, the East's rival to Coca Cola, has been born again and has now become one of Germany's best-selling soft drinks.

"It's popular again, especially in eastern Germany," said Seeling Mueller, a PR specialist working on behalf of Vita Cola's producer Thuringer Waldquell.

"It reminds people of the older days, but it is also in some way part of the identity of the people in the east. They didn't grow up with Coca Cola, they grew up with Vita Cola," he continued, adding that the product's distinctive logo and bottle had been retained.

Zeha trainers, which were once worn by the all-powerful East German athletics team, have also risen from the economic ashes of the of the DDR's economy.


Zeha trainers have enjoyed a resurgence in recent months Photo: ZEHA

Now made in Italy, but still sporting their trademark double stripes, the shoes enjoy a retro-chic status amongst consumers, many of whom were not yet born when the Berlin Wall collapsed.

"We really tried hard to keep the product pretty authentic. We tried to make them look like the old shoes but give them the technical details and comfort of shoes nowadays," Torsten Heine, a Zeha partner, said in radio interview.

But for some, nostalgia for the old days extends beyond a simple desire to wear a pair of trainers or drink some cola.

A search on eBay reveals a plethora of memorabilia linked to the once-feared East German secret police, the Stasi. Collectors can pick up anything from lapel badges to a woman's Stasi uniform for about £10.

Original text by by Matthew Day
Telegraph Media Group Limited

Posted by serge, 10 November 2009. Post has 0 comments.
Berlin wall Cola East German Germany Stasi

 

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